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Boxwood Fungus

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Boxwoods have always had several problems but overall, they’ve been reliable and invaluable landscape material. Now a contagious fungal pathogen has arrived from Europe and it is devastating to certain cultivars.  Boxwood blight came to the United States 2011 and is spreading rapidly, initially by new plants that arrive at nurseries to be sold. In South Carolina, boxwood plants that at the time showed no symptoms arrived in state and only after being installed in landscapes, did symptoms started to appear. The first signs are usually leaf spots which can eventually cover the entire leaf surface.  Stems also show black streaks and lesions. Once infected new plants are in the landscape, the disease easily spreads to established boxwoods as the sticky spores cling to animals, people, and are also moved by splashing water and tools. There’s no cure for severely infected plants.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.