University of Maryland Extension

Volutella Blight - Boxwood

diseased boxwood
Volutella stem blight or canker of boxwood

Key Points

  • Both American and English boxwood are susceptible to this disease caused by the fungus, Pseudonectria rouselliana. The imperfect stage is Volutella buxi.
  • Before new growth appears in the spring, leaves on the tips of infected branches turn red, then bronze and finally yellow. Infected branches die back.
  • Examination of affected branches reveals loose bark and girdling at varying distances from the tips and discoloration of the wood.
  • In moist weather the fungus produces salmon pink fruiting bodies on leaves and stems.

voultella on boxwood
Note the straw color of affected leaves

voultella
Loose bark on affected branches

Management

  • Diseased branches should be pruned out and when the foliage is dry.
  • An important measure to help prevent and control volutella is thinning (instead of shearing) boxwood to improve air circulation and light penetration. Thinning is a type of pruning that removes interior stems.
  • Old fallen leaves and diseased leaves that have accumulated in the crotches of branches in the interior of the plant should be shaken out and removed.
  • Improve growing conditions, especially to alleviate drought stress.

Additional Resource

Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2020. Web Accessibility

University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any event or activity, please contact your localĀ University of Maryland Extension Office.