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Box hedge looking sick…

….and I can’t work out if it’s incipient blight, insect damage, drought or frost! Hope there is someone out there who might be able to put me on the right track…The complete hedge top is affected, not patchy…

Any advice would be much appreciated. I can’t see any obvious insect infestation…

Thank you in advance!


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,624
    It's difficult for me to say from your photo Pauline, although l expect others will be able to tell straight away 😊.
    Any chance you could post a photo of the whole hedge ? I'm wondering if it's blight if there's no sign of webbing or little green "poo pellets", and the damage is all acrossthe top. 
    Our box hedge is being attacked by box caterpillars again, the nematodes arrived yesterday. 
  • Pauline28Pauline28 Posts: 5
    Thanks AnniD - do these help at all? It looks healthy from a distance until you have a closer look….
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,624
    No problem Pauline :) 
    It's tricky to say, but it might be worth having a proper delve into the hedge and seeing what you can find. If it is box caterpillars, (and l'm still not 100% certain), they are extremely tricky to find at first until they've multiplied, but you need to have a look under the leaves as they tend to lurk. You may find webbing which is another giveaway.
    I have just been out in my garden and dug out a small box pillar which had damage very similar looking to yours (partly from last year). As l was cutting it up l came across 2 box caterpillars .

    Have a look at this link, the main photo gives a very good example of what you're looking for. The only good thing is they are extremely brightly coloured.
  • Pauline28Pauline28 Posts: 5
    Ooooh... Yes I just checked out that link and I see what you mean. When the hedge dries out (we haven't had to say that much this year!) I will go and have a delve....I only cast an eye over the outside, obviously I need to go a bit deeper. If I could turn back the clock I think I would advise the former owners against planting box!!!! Who knew there were so many problems that could occur....

    Thank you once again 😊
  • Pauline28Pauline28 Posts: 5
    No sign of caterpillars or webs - just a sick looking hedge, but still lots of healthy growth too. I am going to apply a box feed/fungicide and keep my fingers crossed, but will keep a close eye on developments as I understand blight and caterpillars get a hold really quickly! So I will know quite soon if I’ve got to cut back hard to save my hedge! After that it might be Euonymus or Ilex time…. Thanks again…😌
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,624
    It can be very disheartening l know. I have box hedges in the front and back gardens, and also box balls etc.
    There are caterpillars appearing for the second year running and if it were up to me, they'd be coming out, but my OH wants to keep trying, and nematodes arrived in the post yesterday. 
    He did say if it didn't work this year then he would take them out.
    I think the problem is that even if you manage to get rid of them once, they are extremely persistent, as l'm finding out !
    At least you didn't plant them, so you don't have any emotional attachment to them, if you know what l mean. Just make sure to stay vigilant, and good luck  :)
  • Pauline28Pauline28 Posts: 5
    Any updates to follow 👍☺️
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