A recently published article in Plant Health Progress
, by lead author Norm Dart of the Virginia Department of Agriculture, documented the success of flaming leaf litter and surface soil to significantly reduce the number of viable Boxwood Blight (Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum
) resting structures (microsclerotia). Before flaming the fields, diseased plants were removed and disposed of, leaving behind only plant debris that had fallen off previously or as a result of the plant removal. The authors used propane push flamers (Red Dragon, La Crosse, KS) on the soil surface until the visible organic material was completely burned. Following the flaming results showed an approximately 85% reduction in viability.
Microsclerotia are hard fungal masses that develop in diseased tissue, especially, in fallen leaves. These structures, in other species of Cylindrocladium
, have shown an ability to survive in soil and detritus for 10 years or more. Any method to significantly reduce the viability of these structures is a useful tool to a grower who has had to deal with this pathogen in the field, especially if they intend to grow boxwoods again.