Boxwood blight cases confirmed in northern Illinois

Researchers have confirmed two cases of a fungal disease called Boxwood blight in two Illinois counties, which could potentially threaten the bottom line for the state’s landscaping companies, arbor companies and plant nursery industry.

Diane Plewa, Plant Diagnostic Outreach Specialist at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic, said the plant disease has been found, one in Lake County and one in Cook County.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is looking into preventative measures to keep the fungal disease from spreading, according to Plewa.

The disease causes defoliation and produces cankers on the plant that interrupt the flow of water and nutrients within the plant, she said.

“You get these very ugly plants that are mostly defoliated, and then they have these big cankers on the stems that prevent the plant from recovering,” Plewa said. “It can kill mature plants.”

Plewa said preventing the disease from becoming established in the state is essential.

“Once the pathogen has taken hold, then you’re looking at potentially tens or hundreds of thousands of plants being affected, equipment being contaminated, and that’s a much bigger deal,” she said.

Plewa said the fungal disease should not harm people or pets.

“We have no reports of it causing problems for animals or humans either due to ingestion or brushing up against it or skin contact,” she said.

According to Nursery Management, the infected plants were not from any production facilities in the state of Illinois.

–Illinois News Network

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