April 25, 2012
Boxwood blight update: Customers should beware of “free from” claims
The Canadian Nursery Landscape Association reports that some growers of boxwood are claiming to be “free” from C. buxicola or boxwood blight, based on negative test results that have been supplied to growers by their CFIA inspectors.

Growers that have been inspected by CFIA as part of their detection survey and have received all negative results, are able to receive documentation to that effect from their CFIA inspector. However, it is important to note that this documentation from CFIA is not verification that the grower is "free from" boxwood blight, but rather that the samples taken were negative. There is no program or process in place to guarantee 100 per cent freedom from boxwood blight. CNLA recommends growers use the wording, “apparently free from boxwood blight.”

While there is no test that will give 100 per cent assurance that a crop doesn't have the blight, chances are miniscule that your plants will contract boxwood blight if you buy from reputable growers who have been tested, and continue to test their crops for the disease. Boxwood is still an important plant in the landscape, and by asking your suppliers for their written assurances, you should feel safe in knowing that the chance of boxwood blight showing up in your garden centre is slight.

For further information or to refer to the CNLA’s best management practices for retailers and landscapers, click here.