Growers, landscapers, retailers and staff of public gardens are encouraged to attend. Presentation topics and presenters include:
• Biology of Boxwood Blight – Tracey Olson, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
• Best Management Practices – Tim Abbey, Cooperative Extension
• Importance of Compliance – Dana Rhodes, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Calonectria pseudonaviculatum fungus causes blight in all types and ages of Buxus species, including boxwood, common groundcover pachysandra and sarcococca (sweet box).
Signs of the disease include leaf spots, rapid defoliation, distinctive black cankers on stems and severe dieback. The disease weakens plants, making them susceptible to other diseases.
Fungal spores are sticky and cling to anything exposed to an infected plant, including gardening tools, gloves, jewelry, shoes, pets and lawnmowers. Spores can last more than 10 years in soil and dropped leaves.
The disease was first detected in Europe and in 2011, it was found in a North Carolina nursery. Since that time, it has spread to at least nine other states, including Pennsylvania where it has been found in Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Columbia, Cumberland, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and Warren counties. In each case where it was found in the commonwealth, it has been eradicated.
While there have not been any new cases confirmed in Pennsylvania in 2016, state officials are working proactively to provide education and guidance in a timely manner.