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Friday
Feb082013

Boxwood Going

Japanese Boxwood
(Buxus sempervirens Suffruticosta)

Unfortunately, the zone 4 and higher areas in Canada maybe losing their favourite hedge shrub. It has been under attack since late 2011, when a Boxwood disease arrived in the U.S. from Europe. Naturally the most common Boxwood sold, 'Buxus sempervirens Suffruticosta' is the most affected.

Since 2011, Boxwood blight has appeared in nurseries in 10 US States (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia) and three Canadian Provinces (British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec). The blight begins with spots on the leaves and black streaks on twigs. Within a few weeks, the entire shrub becomes an ugly clump of bare dead sticks.

Zone: 4-9
Height: 100-183cm (4-6')
Spread: 100-150cm (4-5')
Habit: Upright
Exposure: Full Sun
Moisture: Just Moist, Never Dry

Boxwood gets it's name, because its very hard wood was used in ancient Japan and Korea, for making boxes and small containers.

Boxwood is a lovely evergreen shrub for small hedges. It is deer resistant, it retains its dark green foliage in the hottest summer. It shows bronze tinged leaves in our cold fall and winter.

I have been reading a report from the North Carolina University Cooperative Extension, that there are some boxwood varieties that are showing resistance to the blight. They have evaluated 24 Boxwood varieties commonly planted/sold in North America. Fortunately they have discovered, Buxus microphylla japonica 'Green Beauty' is quite tolerant of the blight.

We have a few clients who grow Boxwood. They discovered, that wrapping the shrub in mid-fall, and covering it completely with snow, as soon as possible, does keep it alive,

   ---- even in our cold zone 2 Saskatchewan!