Piney River, Virginia – Saunders Brothers, Inc. will unveil a new generation of boxwood development and production with NewGen boxwood at MANTS 2019. Years in the making, NewGen boxwood is the Saunders Brothers’ focused response to be used as a tool to address the challenge of boxwood blight (C. buxicola) to the company and the horticulture industry at large. NewGen intends to raise the bar for boxwood to meet the changing dynamics of a new generation of the American garden and gardener.
The mission of NewGen Boxwood is to be the standard bearer for a distinctively better family of boxwood that fulfills key promises of better tolerance of boxwood blight, better resistance to boxwood leafminer, and wow factor in appearance. To meet those promises, NewGen aims to lead the industry in the identification, testing, and marketing of superior selections.
“As the brand name implies, we believe NewGen boxwood represents the future of boxwood -- for Saunders Brothers and the industry as a whole,” said Bennett Saunders, general manager of Saunders Genetics. “To meet the threat of rising pest and disease pressure, as well as maintain boxwood as the foundation of the landscape and garden, we felt we needed a new approach. We have focused our attention on new and improved genetics, more thorough testing methods and protocols, partnering with like-minded growers, and establishing a distinguished brand identity.”
NewGen boxwood will be previewed at this year’s MANTS, which takes place Jan. 9-11 in Baltimore. Saunders Brothers will devote 2019 to introducing the program to the industry and its customers and building production on the three initial NewGen selections scheduled for limited market availability in late 2019 and full availability in spring 2020. At this time, three NewGen licensees have signed on to grow and distribute the product line in 2020. They include: Overdevest Nurseries, N.J.; Prides Corner Farms, Conn.; and Willoway Nurseries, Ohio.
Boxwood has been part of the family tradition at Saunders Brothers for over 70 years. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Paul Saunders brought in new varieties in the face of dying populations of older English boxwood. Many of these varieties were planted throughout the eastern United States through his recommendations with the National Boxwood Trials.
In the early 2000’s, boxwood have come under fire because of boxwood leafminer and more recently because of pressure from boxwood blight. Saunders Brothers spent many years researching and testing over 160 cultivars to find better genetic tolerance to both leafminer and boxwood blight. The resulting NewGen varieties were selected out of this pool and offer aesthetic appeal, grower friendliness, and a better tolerance of boxwood blight and boxwood leafminer.