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Boxwood Blight Update

06 Feb 2012 3:59 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)
ACWORTH, GA, February 6, 2012 – Nurseries across the country have been put on alert as this new disease spreads. Boxwood Blight has now been detected in CT, MA, RI, NY, PA, MD, VA, NC, and OR. Here's an overview of the latest facts on this devastating fungal disease from the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA), the Nursery & Landscape Executives of North America (NLAE), the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), and other industry sources.

  • Pathogen first described in U.K. in mid 1990’s, now throughout most of Europe.  Found in New Zealand in 2002. (Unfortunately, despite published alerts, the U.S. and Canada failed to take protective regulatory measures when they might have had a better chance of succeeding).
  • In U.S., it has now been detected in the states of CT, MA, RI, NY, PA, MD, VA, NC, and OR, and province of BC. In some cases detections have been in nurseries only, in others, in landscape settings.
  • It is a serious disease, appearing to affect most if not all of the commercially important boxwood species and cultivars produced in North America.
  • On a slightly positive note, the blight is NOT a threat to natural/environmental plant resources, or important non-nursery agricultural crops.  It is a nursery and landscape issue.  That said, boxwoods are a major nursery crop and an iconic landscape plant.
  • Marc Teffeau (ANLA/HRI) gave an overview of options for leveraging research funding to address needs.  He explained how and why a coordinated research effort can optimize the ability to tap into multiple funding sources.  HRI leadership has established boxwood blight as an HRI research priority.
  • Aside from the usual HRI grants process, HRI has established the Emerging Issues and Technology Projects – Boxwood Blight Fund as a rapid-response mechanism for passing funding through to urgently-needed research.  The pooling of industry resources through this mechanism enhances ability to secure resources through various government research funding channels. Click Here to read about Maryland Nursery & Landscape Association's recent contribution to HRI for Boxwood Blight Research Efforts.
  • Researchers in NC, VA, and CT  (and potentially others) have emerged ready to contribute their talents to the research effort . USDA’s ARS also has unique capabilities to conduct certain types of research at its biosecure Ft. Detrick facility.
Click Here to review best management practices provided by Virginia Tech's Hampton Roads Research Center.

Click Here for the latest Boxwood Blight Buzz from ANLA.
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