Box Blight Confirmed in Wake County

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Box blight has been confirmed in boxwood plants originating in a nursery in the North Carolina mountains and offered for sale at the North Carolina State Farmers Market in Raleigh. The disease also has been confirmed at the Raleigh home of the vendor. A small number of customers may have purchased infected plants between the beginning of July and mid-August 2014.

Box blight is a destructive fungal disease of boxwood leaves and twigs. Symptoms include brown leaf spots, dark streaks on twigs, and extensive leaf drop. Sarcococca (sweetbox) and Pachysandra can also become infected. A fact sheet (https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Box-blight-Guide-07.22.13.pdf) is available with additional information about identification and management of this disease. Note that sanitizer information is currently being updated. For most bleach formulations the correct ratio of bleach to water is now 1:14.

Personnel from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are attempting to trace the sales of these plants from the Farmers Market. Careful removal and destruction of all infected shrubs may help keep losses to a minimum and prevent further local spread. If you believe you may have purchased one of the plants in question, please contact the office of Phil Wilson, Plant Pest Administrator for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services at 919-707-3753. Other parties with questions about box blight should direct them to their local County Cooperative Extension Service office.