Disease Threatens Boxwoods In Kentucky

Dan Stever on Jul 27, 2018 4:13:27 PM

Boxwood Blight is a serious disease spreading through Kentucky. It is in several counties and has been identified in several locations in Lexington. It causes fast defoliation of plants, spreads through plantings quickly, and can kill in one growing season. Sadly, there are no chemical cures for this disease.

Given the extensive boxwood plantings in Kentucky, the losses have the potential to reshape our landscapes. 


And because boxwood blight can live 6 years in the soil, it will be a long time before boxwoods could be replanted. The University of Kentucky's Plant Pathologists have a lot of information available, and you can read a fact sheet here.

How can you stop the spread of boxwood blight? First, know what to look for:  early symptoms include leaf spots, fast defoliation, and elongated dark brown streak-like lesions on infected stems (UK Plant Pathology). Second, inspect new boxwood plants before purchase for signs of infection. It is also recommended to keep new plants in quarantine for three weeks before planting them just in case they become symptomatic. Also be aware that the disease has been introduced to some landscapes through christmas wreaths and mulch that contained diseased boxwood cuttings. Third - sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Boxwood blight spores can stick to tools, shoes, or even our hands. Don't transport plants or soil from infected sites. 

If you think you have boxwood blight, contact your local extension office immediately. Fast action is required to prevent spreading the infection, and to minimize the losses. Klausing Group can provide horticultural inspections, please call 859-254-0762 or request service through our website at https://www.klausinggroup.com/

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