Box Blight Treatment

Box Blight Disease(s)

Box blight is a fast-spreading fungal disease that kills topiary and hedges containing varieties of Buxus (known as ‘Box’) within a season.

What is Box Blight? 

Box blight’ is actually one, or a combination, of these two separate fungal diseases:

Cylindrocladium:
Usually starts as dark fungal spore
infection – leaves black spots or dark
bare twigs

Box Blight Cylindrocladium

Image rights: Wikimedia Commons License

             

Volutella:
Leaves turn brown and wither but stay
fixed to the plant


Box Blight Volutella

Image rights: Wikimedia Commons License

Fungal pathogens, or disease spores, can take only a matter of hours to infect leaves. They are transferred from infected plants via water splashes but can live on leaf litter and dead plants for many weeks or months (see Box Blight Prevention).

How To Treat

There are a number of fungicides that have been trialled by growers in mainland Europe, with some success, in protecting against initial infection and some that attack the infection - but not all are approved for use on Amenity vegetation (Buxus).

Facts about Box Blight

  • Once a leaf or branch has died it cannot be brought back to life.
  • Signum  and Nativo 75 WG are approved through an EAMU (Extension of Authorisation for Minor Uses).
  • An integrated approach to the control of box blight is always most successful.  Bolstering true fungicides such as those above with plant biostimulants which counter disease development, can be a very successful approach.
  • These products are not classed as pesticides and very effective when used early and regularly to maintain protection.  These product are not limited to a maximum number of applications per season and can often be tank mixed with fungicides or used alone between fungicide applications.  Please test for compatibility in a bucket before adding to the spray tank.
  • The best products for this purpose often contain seaweed based growth hormones.  Please see our products Amvista Phyter, Maxicrop Original, Amvista L9 Liquid Organic Seaweed and Amvista Resistor.
  • Damp and blustery periods of weather are very conduisive to disease spread and it can infect at any time of the year throughout most of the UK.
  • Dry periods are better to limit disease.

Find out more about Box Blight Disease by Visiting our Blog

How to Prevent Box Blight 

Prevention can be better than cure, but unfortunately its no guarantee. Follow the below advice for the best chance at box blight control.

  • Collect fallen leaves from all plant species in the vicinity regularly and remove dead plants – then burn... DO NOT compost.
  • Water during dry weather using drip tubes rather than spraying the foliage. Alternatively, you could soak the soil once a week rather than sprinkling multiple times a week.
  • Disinfect cutting equipment after every cut; secateurs, shears and hedgetrimmers– use Propellar or Jet 5 disinfectant.
  • A strong plant will both help plants resist the disease and also promote recovery after treatment. Fertilise using a specifically designed slow release shrub fertiliser such as Arbor Gold or an organically derived option such as Fish, Blood & Bone.
  • Some varieties of Buxus seem to withstand infection better than others. Unfortunately, the most popular variety, Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa', seems to be the most susceptible to disease.
  • Newly purchased plants (Buxus or otherwise) should never be planted straight away near box to reduce the importation of infection. Keep new plants in ‘quarantine’ for a short period to observe any signs of disease developing.

Products for Box Blight Treatment