A devastating fungal disease, boxwood blight has made its way into Illinois. First identified and confirmed in the United States in 2011, boxwood blight remained concentrated in the eastern part of the country for many years. There have now been cases identified in Missouri, Ohio and Illinois.

As the name states, boxwood blight affects boxwood plants. The disease characteristics look very similar to other diseases and problems that affect boxwoods; therefore it’s important to have the disease properly diagnosed before treatment. Boxwood blight symptoms include light to dark brown spots on the leaves surrounded by yellow, stem cankers and eventually plant defoliation.

The first case of boxwood blight in Illinois was identified in 2016. It is not believed the infected plants originated from a growing facility in Illinois and the boxwood blight fungal spores do not travel far. This is good news for Illinois residents with boxwood plants. It is more likely that the disease would be introduced in the landscape via newly planted boxwood plants or infected pruning tools or equipment. Because boxwoods are such an important part of so many landscapes in Illinois, it’s key to closely monitor the plants for signs and symptoms of infection. But don’t panic, it doesn’t appear that boxwood blight is completely established or widespread in the state.  Careful monitoring and detection are most important.

Worried about your boxwoods? Contact us to have a certified arborist evaluate and offer recommendations.

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