Boxwood Blight in Holiday Greenery

boxwood blight in holiday greenery

Healthy boxwood wreath and garland.

Watch out for boxwood blight in holiday greenery. Boxwood blight is a devastating disease that was first introduced to Alabama in 2013. During the past year we had six cases of boxwood blight in Birmingham area landscapes. While the disease is typically introduced on infected plants, it can also be introduced on boxwood greenery used for making wreaths, garland and other holiday decorations. Unfortunately, there have been recent reports of boxwood greenery infected with boxwood blight at retail outlets in Alabama.  The infected greenery has been removed from store shelves, but it’s an important reminder to inspect boxwood greenery for symptoms of the disease, including brown leaf spots, black streaking on the stems and leaf drop. Any greenery that has these symptoms should be bagged and discarded in the trash. Because the disease can be hard to detect on greenery, we also recommend that you bag up all boxwood greenery and dispose of it in the trash at the end of the holiday season. Don’t throw boxwood greenery in the compost pile. If you suspect boxwood blight on greenery you purchased or boxwoods in your yard, contact me at the Birmingham Plant Diagnostic lab or your local county extension office for help determining if it really is boxwood blight.

boxwood blight in holiday greenery

Brown leaf spots are a key symptom in recognizing boxwood blight.


Black stem streaking is another important symptom of boxwood blight (Mary Ann Hansen, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Bugwood.org).

More Boxwood Care and Pest Prevention

By Jim Jacobi, Extension Plant Pathology Specialist, Alabama Cooperative Extension System.  Contact Jim at jacobjc@auburn.edu.


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) operates as the primary outreach organization for the land-grant functions of Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities. ACES is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce.  Educational programs of ACES serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or national origin.



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Alabama Extension

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System operates as the primary outreach organization for the land-grant functions of Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities and answers home-gardeners' questions each week on Birmingham Gardening Today.

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