Nursery News: News

Growers learn boxwood blight management techniques

Wednesday, February 5, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Beth Farmer
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A sold-out room of 50 green industry professionals attended a Boxwood Health Workshop, held Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) in Aurora, Oregon.

Experts presented information on boxwood blight symptoms, best management practices to prevent the spread of the disease, blight resistant boxwood varieties, current research, other pest/disease threats to boxwoods, and Oregon’s voluntary Boxwood Blight Cleanliness Program, among other subjects.

Dr. Jill Calabro of HRI and OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone opened the all-day workshop and introduced the first speaker, Dr. Fulya Baysal-Gurel, research assistant professor from Tennessee State University. Her session discussed sanitation practices for boxwood production and how good hygiene can improve a nursery’s products.

Other sessions covered a range of topics related to preventing an outbreak.

Bennett Saunders of Saunders Brothers Nursery (Piney River, Virginia), who grows boxwoods, explained the best management practices his nursery deploys, as well as its proactive decision to produce cultivars that are more tolerant of the disease.

Dr. Jim LaMondia, chief scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, presented on blight resistant cultivars, as well as the use of fungicide programs to manage blight. A research-driven session explained the collaborative results of Karen Suslow’s and Dr. Chuan Hong’s studies at the National Ornamental Research Site at Dominican University CA, which explored the unique symptom developments that occurred in arid Mediterranean climates.

Judy Macias, assistant trade director with APHIS Plant Protection & Quarantine Phytosanitary Issue Management, gave an overview of the box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis), which poses a threat to U.S. markets. Dr. Jerry Weiland, USDA ARS, shared some tactics for scouting for the disease and how to prevent spreading the pathogens. 

Chris Brenemann, lead horticulturist for the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), closed the day by sharing the value of joining the voluntary Boxwood Blight Cleanliness Program. The strength of the program relies on developing a good working relationship between a nursery and their ODA inspector to prevent the spread of the disease.

Because of limited space, there wasn’t room for everyone who wished to attend. The workshop was recorded. The OAN is looking at the possibility of making the recording available in the future for members who were unable to attend, or who wish to repeat their viewing of the presentations.