|Boxwood blight and the dawn of a research collaboration.|
S. M. DOUGLAS (1), D. M. Benson (2), J. A. Crouch (3), N. L. Dart (4), M. L. Daughtrey (5), C. Hong (6), K. L. Ivors (2), J. A. LaMondia (7), R. E. Marra (1), C. L. Palmer (8), N. Shishkoff (9). (1) The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven, CT, U.S.A.; (2) North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, U.S.A.; (3) USDA ARS, Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory, Beltsville, MD, U.S.A.; (4) Virginia Department of Agricul
Boxwood blight, caused by Calonectria pseudonaviculata, emerged as a destructive disease first detected in North America in October 2011. Initially observed in the U.K. in the 1990s and now considered endemic throughout Europe, the disease has been reported from nurseries and landscapes in 12 U.S. states and 3 Canadian provinces, where it has caused substantial economic loss. Affected plants develop leaf and stem lesions that can result in severe defoliation, dieback, disfigurement, and plant death. In addition to the threat to the boxwood industry, this disease represents a potential peril to historically and culturally important boxwood plantings. Government and university scientists, growers, and regulators in the U.S. responded to this threat with an unprecedented collaboration to ensure a focused, coordinated effort toward improved understanding and management of this disease. Collaboration among research groups has provided a robust common platform that accelerated discovery on a scale not possible from any individual laboratory. Information was rapidly generated on sanitizers, fungicides, resistant cultivars, and field residue flaming for best management guides delivered through extension outreach. Additional outcomes included bioassay and molecular tools for detection, improved understanding of environmental effects on survival, deciphering the population genetics of the pathogen, as well as other mitigation practices for disease management.