Landscape Architect & Specifier News

APR 2018

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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Blighted Boxwoods Boxwood blight was not identified in the U.S. until fall 2011. From 2014 to 2017, USDA APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) dedicated over $2.7 million to boxwood blight research. Boxwood is the number one woody plant sold in the U.S. The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated the value of U.S. boxwood production at over $126 million (2014). With the increase in boxwood blight, the cost to grow boxwood has reached an all-time high. While several diseases and pests threaten boxwoods (leafminer, Volutella and mites), the Calonectria pseudonaviculata pathogen is the primary concern in the U.S. This was confirmed at the American Boxwood Society (ABS) meeting in Beltsville, Md., on February 20. Bennett Saunders, ABS president, said the talks centered on keeping the disease out, but there's an increasing realization to manage the disease through better pruning techniques, better ground cover management and more resistant cultivars. Boxwood blight has been identified in 25 states and is increasing. Researchers believe it is likely present wherever there is a sizable boxwood population. Margery Daughtrey, senior extension associate at Cornell University, says diseased boxwood leaves and cankered shoots are traveling via B&B, gallon containers and even in Christmas wreaths. In Europe, fungicides are the norm to treat boxwood blight. The U.S. strategy is to keep boxwood blight out of areas, relying on a "start clean, stay clean" mantra. Dr. Jim LaMondia at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has been testing the efficacy of fungicides on boxwood and sees some potential in demethylation inhibitors. Sanitation is always a consideration, regardless of what disease is at play. Ethanol, bleach, Lysol and Zerotol are effective in this regard. Mark Sellew, president of Pride's Corner Farm, says that varieties like Buxus suffruticosa should be banned, as it is "likely spreading the disease and jeopardizing the future market potential of the entire genus of Buxus." Editor's note: The information herein derives from an article by Jill Calabro, PhD, the science and research programs director at the Horticultural Research Institute. April 2018 79 I n f o r m a t i o n R e q u e s t # 5 7 5

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