Editor's note: Boxwood blight has troubled the nursery industry for years. In the latest Garden & Gun, Caroline Sanders wrote about the efforts of the Colonial Williamsburg landscape team and the Virginia Tech Boxwood Blight Task Force to handle the disease.
The scene was a dystopian paradox. In early August, against the backdrop of the Georgian brick architecture and cobblestoned streets of Colonial Williamsburg, a team of landscapers in Tyvek suits stood inside the garden of the Ludwell-Paradise house, ripping up hundred-year-old boxwoods and heaving them into a woodchipper before burning the remaining ground cover. That’s the protocol for combating boxwood blight, a highly contagious fungal disease that infects the leaves and shoots of boxwoods, turning the plant black before stripping it of its leaves and killing it.