Horticultural Research Institute unveils best practices for combating boxwood blight

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Horticultural Research Institute is invested in helping the industry understand the complex nature of boxwood health. New boxwood blight best management practices for landscape management were released last month in tandem with updated best management practices for production. HRI continues to guide research, monitor results, and provide an expanding toolbox of resources on boxwood health directly to the industry.

Boxwood blight continues to cause producers and landscape managers headaches. Reports of the disease continue to rise as scouting prowess increases in our industries and weather conditions (warm, wet/humid conditions, 60-82° F) continue to favor disease development. Researchers are making headway at unraveling boxwood blight’s secrets.

Some of the latest areas of research currently underway includes:

  • Longevity of chlorothalonil fungicide applications, modeling fungicide resistance, and looking at fungicides that induce boxwood’s natural resistance, such as acibenzolar. Dr. Sara Villani, North Carolina State University
  • Horticultural Research Institute

  • Possible biocontrol agents, such as Trichoderma koningiopsis, Pseudomonas sp., and Burkholderia sp. Dr. JoAnne Crouch, USDA ARS and Dr. Ping Kong, Virginia Tech
  • Development of a rapid, equipment-free diagnostic assay. Dr. Xiao Yang and Dr. Doug Luster, USDA ARS
  • Population changes (in term of genetics), Dr. JoAnne Crouch, USDA ARS
  • Continuing evaluation of cultivar tolerance and susceptibility. Dr. Jim LaMondia, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Dr. Marc Cubeta, North Carolina State University, Dr. JoAnne Crouch, USDA ARS, and Dr. Nina Shishkoff, USDA ARS
  • Surveys of boxwood production in Oregon, Dr. Jerry Weiland, USDA ARS

It is important to remember, though, that the risk to boxwood does not rest solely in boxwood blight.

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