Simple Plastic Bag Test to Diagnose Box Blight

Correct diagnosis of box blight is important in order to know how to respond to this potentially devastating disease. Box blight can be treated with a combination of fungicides and improvements in gardening practices if diagnosed quickly before the infection has spread. Symptoms of box blight include browning of the leaves and patches of defoliation. Black streaks maybe visible on the stems and small white spores on the underside of the leaves. Discoloration of box leaves and defoliation could also be the result of nutrient deficiency. This is why a correct diagnosis is important as the box plants may just…

Beat Box Blight with Curved Tops on Box Hedging

I have noticed box blight affects the top part of hedges and topiary more than the base. The top is where the fungal infection seems to thrive, causing the most defoliation and stem damage. My approach with box blight infections is to treat the hedge twice a year with a commercial grade fungicide and encourage the gardener or homeowner to adopt good gardening practices such as watering from the base, regularly sterilising clipping tools and clearing up as much fallen box leaf litter as possible. So far this approach has had good success. The fungicide helps stop the infection getting…

Restoring Old Yew Topiary

As I was working in Dorset the other weekend, I took the opportunity to visit the beautiful Mapperton House gardens. Their ‘Pool Garden’ is lined with large, cone-shaped yew topiary. Some of the yew topiary has become misshapen over time and I was pleased to see the brave decision has been taken to restore a few to their original shape. This type of restoration is not for the faint hearted. It involves hard cutting the yew back into the old wood. The beauty of yew is that it will regrow from old wood. But this does take time. Probably two…