Volutella Blight: Understanding, Identifying, and Managing the Disease

Volutella Blight is a relatively common fungal disease that primarily affects certain ornamental shrubs. The disease is caused by the fungus Pseudonectria buxi and is most frequently observed on boxwood plants, though it can also infect other species. In this detailed blog post, we’ll dive into the characteristics of Volutella Blight, how to recognize it, and strategies for managing and preventing this disease in the landscape.

What is Volutella Blight?

Volutella Blight, also known as Pseudonectria Canker, is a disease that affects primarily boxwood plants. It is caused by the fungus Pseudonectria buxi, which infects the leaves and stems of the host plants.

Types of Plants Affected

While boxwood is the primary host, Volutella Blight can also infect other related species. It’s vital to recognize that not all boxwood species are equally susceptible to the disease.

Symptoms of Volutella Blight

Understanding the symptoms of Volutella Blight is key to early detection and management. The disease manifests in several ways:

  1. Leaf Discoloration: Initially, leaves may appear light green before turning tan or straw-colored.
  2. Leaf Spots: Pink to tan spots with dark edges may appear on the leaves.
  3. Twig Dieback: Infected twigs may become brown and die back.
  4. Fruiting Bodies: The fungus produces small, pink fruiting bodies on the undersides of infected leaves.

Causes and Conditions for Infection

Volutella Blight thrives in humid and wet conditions. The following factors can contribute to the spread of the disease:

  • Wounded Plants: The fungus readily infects plants that have been damaged or pruned.
  • Overhead Watering: Sprinkler irrigation that wets the leaves can promote infection.
  • Dense Planting: Lack of air circulation in densely planted areas can foster a humid environment conducive to the disease.

Prevention and Management Strategies

Controlling Volutella Blight requires a combination of cultural practices and, in some cases, chemical treatments.

Select Resistant Varieties

Planting resistant varieties of boxwood can greatly reduce the risk of infection.

Proper Pruning

Avoid pruning during wet weather, and be sure to sterilize pruning tools between cuts to prevent spreading the disease.

Watering Practices

Water at the base of the plant rather than overhead to keep the leaves dry.

Proper Spacing

Ensure adequate spacing between plants to promote air circulation, reducing humidity.


In cases of severe infection, fungicides labeled for Volutella Blight control can be applied. Consult with a local extension office or a professional arborist for specific recommendations.

Removal of Infected Material

Prune and remove infected branches and fallen leaves to reduce the source of infection.

Conclusion: A Manageable Challenge

Volutella Blight is a concern for gardeners and landscapers working with susceptible plant species, particularly boxwood. While the disease can be destructive, understanding its symptoms, causes, and management strategies enables effective control.

By selecting resistant plant varieties, practicing careful pruning and watering, and utilizing fungicides when necessary, the impact of Volutella Blight can be minimized.

Gardeners should be vigilant and proactive, regularly inspecting plants for early signs of disease and taking prompt action when symptoms are detected. With informed care and attention, it’s entirely possible to enjoy beautiful, healthy boxwood and related plants, even in the presence of Volutella Blight.