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Box blight

B3B3 Posts: 21,493
I have a small box hedge about 6ft x 3ft and it has a a bit of blight. My fault entirely. I didn't bother clearing off the acer leaves that landed on it and consequently provided the ideal humid conditions.
My question is: is it worth fighting it or should I plant something else?
Thanks chaps.
In London. Keen but lazy.

Posts

  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 6,994
    Only you can answer that one B3!

    I have a box hedge which suffered very badly from blight from the get go - I probably (unwittingly) purchased infected plants from the wholesaler😬 - and the conditions were perfect for blight that year. However, the dwarf hedge is an important structural / ornamental feature in the garden, there's not an obvious alternative to use in the location, I invested a not inconsiderable amount of time and money putting it in - and so I decided to do battle....

    I treated the hedge regularly with an appropriate fungicide the season after planting and, since then, I've applied an annual granular feed and thick mulch in spring (the mulch is to suppress any spores lying on the ground) and employ a regime of regular foliar feeds throughout the season. In season 2 I did apply fungicide a couple of times when the disease started to reappear but I haven't had to do it for the last 2 years. The hedge is much healthier and has filled out well.

    The foliar feed I use has been liquid seaweed (about every 4 weeks) but I was introduced to a product called Top Buxus last year. I Know a couple of people who swear by it. However, I'm yet to be persuaded it's that much better than the much cheaper seaweed - time will tell.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • B3B3 Posts: 21,493
    Sounds like it's worth a go although I'm not sure if I have the discipline for a regime :)
    It's a fairly loose hedge so maybe it'll work.
    Thanks @Topbird
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 5,004
    When you say a "bit" of blight I would say if it's say 10% or less then it is worth fighting it. If you can do as Topbird suggests then it's worth a go. Once the damage gets to 25% or more then you are on a downward slope. Where I volunteer they are giving up on much of their box & replacing with Yew.
    AB Still learning

  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 6,374
    Should you or anyone else tire of Box because of these blight issues,  then we should be aware that we have a most pleasing, trouble free alternative at our disposal... one I have yet to see highlighted on Gardeners' World... Mr Don is missing a trick..

    Rhododendron 'Bloombux'...  it can be trimmed and shaped like Box, if some flower buds are left on it blooms in June with small pink flowers loved by bees...  and best of all, it's grafted onto lime tolerant Inkarho rootstock, so your soil PH does not matter, at least up to 7.5.. and your hard water from the tap is no problem..

    I got 3 plants a couple of years ago from Millais Nursery, they are quick growers too... and I'm delighted to have them... I might add another 4 plants or so to form a short hedge this year..
     



  • B3B3 Posts: 21,493
    It's less than 5% is say. But you're right about more interesting plants. 
    I'll give it a chance as I'm an old softy but I won't be heartbroken if it has to come out.

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 6,994
    edited January 2019
    I had in excess of 75% blight damage! Every last one of the 300+ plants I put in had succumbed to some degree by the end of the first season. It killed about 10 of them and many of the rest were completely defoliated. It was heartbreaking.

    I was ready to take them all out but they all (except the dead ones of course) started to bud up with new leaves the following spring. A new fungicide to deal with blight had just come on the market so I decided to give it a go - so glad I did.

    Those rhodies look lovely Marlorena but they just wouldn't have been right for my hedges - which are used as edging - much like a very low knot garden. I'm using a very dwarf box and the 'hedges' are maintained at about 10" high by about 6" deep - so require something with tiny leaves. I looked at lonicera nitida but that is much too vigorous. I do, however, use the lonicera as a low (18") hedge around the soft fruit patch and it looks great. Your rhodies would also have been a good choice there.

    As you say - it's a shame GW hasn't done a bit more work investigating alternatives. They were doing a trial of alternatives on Beechgrove last season - but it is still very much in the early stages.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Rose121Rose121 Posts: 132
    I've planned box leaved holly as an alternative - very similar in form and habit. 
  • B3B3 Posts: 21,493
    @topbird . I had a similar experience with a rose. It was quite old and I was fond of it. It had back spot even in the woody stems. I cut it back to sticks and doused it in fungicide. It was fine the next season. Still a bit of black spot but nothing serious. It's always worth giving a treasured plant one last go.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
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