Q. Can you tell me about Boxwood blight?
Thank you for your question. Boxwood blight is a growing problem and I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing it. The blight is caused by a fungus and the weather we have experienced this spring and last is as very conducive to fungal spread. The problem with boxwoods has been made worse by the practices used by commercial growers, including over-use of fungicides. Types of boxwood once considered blight resistant have become symptomatic.
The boxwood referred to as English is Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa' and it is indeed very susceptible to blight. (While many landscapers refer to boxwood as English or American, that is not really a true difference as the “American” species actually originate in England as well.) Not all boxwoods referred to as American are blight resistant and you will also want to consider some plants that are Korean or Japanese boxwoods. The American Boxwood Society, as you can imagine, keeps a very close eye on this issue and they recommend this research by the University of Vermont regarding disease resistant cultivars. This fact sheet also shows a great photo of how the disease presents itself on the plant so that you can confirm that it is fungal disease that you are seeing.
I also recommend the American Boxwood Society’s FAQ page for more general information on your plants to improve your chances with your next investment. Make sure that you discuss the growing habit of available boxwood species with your landscaper before making your selection as leaf size, branch structure, height and width can vary considerably.
Good luck with your boxwoods and your garden. Please let us know if we can be of further help!