Saturday, July 13th, 2013...9:06 pm

Plant Diseases, such as Boxwood Blight

Boxwood Blight – Photo taken by Kelly Ivors

One of the frustrations with gardening is the number of diseases plants get. And with the changing weather patterns, we seem to be getting diseases on plants that we never had in certain locations or diseases that are new. TheGardenLady is not a plant doctor. She always recommends that if you see a disease on your plant, that you cut a good sized sample of the plant with the diseased part- cut it all the way back and include some of the healthy specimens with the diseased part when you take a sample- you want a a big sample. Take this sample to your local Master Gardener Office or to your local extension office for them to ID and tell you how to correct the problem or if you should get rid of the plant so that it does not infect other plants. They will also tell you if you should trash the plant or compost it. Some diseases you do not want to put in your compost pile.

They will ask you a series of questions such as the name of the plant. (If you don’t know it, don’t hesitate to tell them you don’t.) How old the plant is. What direction it is growing on your property N,S, E, or W. Any changes to the area where it is grown. Did it get any pesticides or chemicals on it- like ice melting substances? To make a good diagnoses it is best to have a lot of information.

And if the plant can be treated, they will give good recommendations on how to treat the disease. These recommendations are based on the newest research being done on the disease by researchers around the country.

I write this post because TheGardenLady is on Rutgers University’s email list called Plant and Pest Advisory and have been receiving emails from them about problems on plants on an almost daily basis. The newest post was on the boxwood blight caused by a fungus with the long Latin name of Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum.  Boxwood blight has been a serious problem in the United Kingdon since 1994 and has now been reported in a number of states: MA, MD, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, and VA. New Jersey. If you suspect that your boxwood might be infected this is the advice on how to take a sample to your extension or MG office: carefully sample and double bag the plant material. If your suspects are new transplants or small in stature, whole plants are best. (Leave no leaf behind.) Please drive the samples to the lab for confirmation. I repeat, DOUBLE BAG YOUR SAMPLES! Please do not toss a plant in the bed of your truck and spew infected leaves down the turnpike on your way to the lab!  This is a very serious disease that might destroy all boxwoods and the labs want to avoid any spreading of the disease if they can.

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