What Is Boxwood Blight and Should You Worry about It?

Now that spring is finally here, its important to assess your landscape for any problems. While this past winter was not nearly as brutal as last year, even an average winter can put your landscape through its paces. Its better to be proactive in dealing with any damage so you can enjoy the beauty of your landscape all spring, summer, and fall.
Last year many people noticed that their conifers and spruces had turned brown. This was because so many of them were vulnerable to cold and especially to wind exposure. This spring its obvious that many boxwoods have experienced leaf die off, and it would be easy to assume that the same forces are at work. After all, boxwoods are in the evergreen family as well. But are the brown spots on boxwoods the result of winter kill or something more worrisome?
buxuswinterburn3_600pxThe good news is that, while boxwood blight, a devastating fungal disease, has been confirmed in a number of states, Michigan is not one of them.  While both winter damage and boxwood blight both leave bushes with tan leaves and, eventually, bare stems, one of the differences between the two is where the browning occurs. Typically, with damage due to lack of moisture or exposure to very cold temperatures, the browning will occur at the top of the bush, above the snow line. (Snow will act as an insulator and protector for plants.) When a plant experiences fungal blight, the leaves will die all over and not in such as obvious pattern. Over time the disease will take over the entire plant and kill it, leaving it bare with blackened stems.
Again, as of now, boxwood blight is not thought to be a problem in Michigan, but many people incorporate these plants into their landscapes so we at Procare want to spread awareness of the problem before it becomes a problem. Addressing winter damage is much simpler, fortunately. Boxwood plants can be carefully pruned of their dead sections and often return over time to their more healthy selves with just a little extra tender loving care.
If you would like advice on how to best care for your boxwoods, evergreens, or other landscape plantings, PROCARE would be happy to provide you with advice and assistance. Keeping plants healthy is one of our areas of expertise, so contact us today with any landscape challenge.