As part of the ongoing response to industry’s concerns regarding Boxwood Blight, a new Buxus disease in North America, the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) helped to coordinate a multi-institutional and multi-state project submission for Section 10201 Farm Bill funding. Last week, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (APHIS), awarded the group over $550,000 to study the disease, develop treatment protocols, and begin a breeding program to select for Boxwood Blight (Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum
By facilitating much of the dialogue and sharing the identified priorities of the industry’s Boxwood Blight Working Group, ANLA and HRI worked with the researchers to draft an efficient proposal with funds directed to locations with the necessary expertise, equipment, and facilities already in place and avoid duplicative work. The collaborative research program includes scientists from the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, IR-4 Project, North Carolina State University, and Virginia Tech.
This year’s dry spring has likely helped in suppressing the development and spread of Boxwood Blight and the infusion of research dollars will be useful in producing more tools and knowledge for dealing with this new pathogen. However, prolonged wet and humid weather will return and the appropriate measures to reduce the risk of new infections and spreading the disease should be maintained. See www.boxwoodblight.org
for updated information and suggested best management practices.