What Is Volutella Blight: Learn About Volutella Blight Control

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

What is volutella blight on plants? Also known as leaf and stem blight, volutella blight is a destructive disease that affects pachysandra plants and boxwood shrubs. Early diagnosis and vigilant plant care are the keys to volutella blight control. Read on to learn about treating volutella blight.

Volutella Blight Symptoms

Initial symptoms, which appear in early spring, frequently resemble winter injury. Volutella blight symptoms begin with delayed emergence of new growth and patches of wilted, discolored, yellow, red or bronze leaves that gradually increase in size before turning black and falling from the plant.

Greenish-brown, water-soaked cankers girdle the stems, causing the plant to shrivel and wilt as the cankers turn dark black or brown. Pinkish fungal spores often appear during humid weather.

Volutella Blight Treatment

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Prune damaged growth. Wipe cutting tools with bleach solution or rubbing alcohol between each cut to prevent spread of disease. Shake or rake the plant to remove infected leaves, then destroy the debris.

Although fungicide sprays won’t cure volutella blight, application of lime sulfur or copper sprays may help in case of severe infestations. Spray plants just before growth appears in spring, and then continue throughout the growing season as directed on the label. Plants may benefit from an additional volutella blight treatment in autumn to protect late summer growth.

Remove plants if the blight is overly severe. Replace them with more disease-resistant shrubs or ground covers.

Volutella Blight Control and Prevention

To prevent volutella blight, keep plants healthy and minimize stress with regular trimming, which improves air circulation and increases penetration of sunlight. Trim plants during dry weather.

Water plants in the morning so the foliage has plenty of time to dry before temperatures drop later in the day, as volutella blight is more prevalent in wet, humid conditions. Avoid heavy mulch, which may keep the growing environment overly damp.

Treat insect infestations as they appear, and clean beds and rake plant debris in autumn.

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