Boxwood Blight Update – February 2017

By Terren Landscapes

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In the past, we’ve written briefly on the arrival of Boxwood Blight, a highly destructive plant disease, in Pennsylvania. Recently, we received information from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) confirming its presence in our region specifically. The PDA is taking this disease relatively seriously, as it spreads easily and is known for killing the highly popular boxwood plant. In an effort to combat its spread and mitigate the destruction, the PDA has been holding seminars and initiating news releases as the issue progresses.

Currently, there is no known cure for this disease, as it’s relatively new. It’s discovery in the mid 1990’s was limited to the UK, and only in the past few years did it find its way to the United States. There are however, careful management practices for nurseries and landscapers outlined by the PDA that can help the situation and prevent a more serious outbreak on your property. In an effort to be proactive, we’ve been following these guidelines carefully:

  • Continue to monitor information from the PDA and other relevant institutions by remaining up-to-date on communications and attending relevant seminars/briefings.
  • When possible, only source material from commercial growers adhering to the best management practices framed by the PDA.
  • Inspect all new plant material on arrival to prevent the introduction of symptomatic plants to new landscapes. Additionally, have trained staff members do weekly monitoring of potential hosts on-site.
  • Train all personnel involved in the planting, pruning or other maintenance of boxwoods in basic disease identification. If any symptoms are detected the PDA will be contacted immediately and their removal protocols followed.
  • Provide pruning supplies and equipment to be used exclusively on each property, so as to limit the potential spread of the pathogen between properties. These tools are cleaned with a PDA approved sanitizing solution periodically as pruners move from one boxwood “area” to the next.

While it is impossible to prevent an outbreak with 100% certainty, being aware of the issue and taking the proactive measures outlined above will provide the best defense possible at this time.

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact us any time!

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