Boxwood blight: Threat to ornamentals

Boxwood blight, caused by Calonectria pseudonaviculata and Calonectria henricotiae, has had devastating effects in gardens since its first appearance in the United Kingdom in 1994. The disease affects two other plants in the Buxaceae: sweet box (Sarcococca spp.) and pachysandra (Pachysandra spp.). C. pseudonaviculata was likely introduced to Europe by nursery trade from East Asia on an ornamental species and then to western Asia and North America. Thus far, C. henricotiae has been seen only in Europe. Boxwood, valued at $126 million wholesale per year in the United States alone, is now besieged by an aggressive foliar blight active over a broad temperature range when there are long periods of leaf wetness. Research on inoculum, means of dissemination, cultivar susceptibility, environmental influences, fungicides, sanitizers, and detection methods has vastly improved knowledge of this new invasive disease in a short time. Boxwood with genetic resistance to the disease is critically needed.

Access the full study at the Annual Review of Phytopathology

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