Preventing Pest Attacks on Your Boxwoods
Boxwood shrubs are vulnerable to several pests that can cause major damage to the plant. These pests can cause the leaves to turn yellow or brown and allow diseases to take over. In large numbers these pests can kill the plant. Here are the major pest problems, and some ways that you can help to prevent an attack on your boxwoods.
There are a few different types of nematodes, all of which feed in the same way. Nematodes are in the soil and will embed themselves into the root system of boxwood. They will make themselves at home and block any nutrients from getting through the root. Some plants will try to grow new roots on their own and get nutrients that way, but the nematode attacks will likely migrate to those roots as well. Prevention of nematode is really the only way to keep them from harming your boxwood. Buy your boxwood from a reputable nursery as they take care to ensure that nematodes are not an issue. Also make certain that the area you plant in does not already have nematodes. There are testing kits and centers that you can send soil samples to verify. Be certain to plant your boxwood in soil that is well draining. If you plant the American Boxwood, your plant is already resistant to a couple different species of nematodes however planting such plants as marigolds and grass can help cut down the nematode population as they are resistant to all types of nematodes.
Boxwood mites very closely resemble a spider. They are very small, only around 1/64 inch. Prevention of this little critter can be done organically by introducing lady bugs to the boxwood. Ladybugs will eat up all of the little bugs on your plant. You can use insecticides as well however insecticides will also kill all of the preventative insects that are on the tree as well. Use them as a last resort.
Boxwood Leaf Miner
The Boxwood leaf miner is a very small fly larva that digs into the leaves of boxwood. They stay in the leaf almost all year and then emerge an orange colored fly. This small fly has of a life of about three weeks. The only time that you can effectively prevent an attack on your plant is to spray insecticide when the adult flies have emerged. Once they have laid their eggs on the leaves then it is too late to do anything about this insect. A small population of the leaf miner will allow your boxwood to survive, however; you will need to trim off the infected branches and be sure to watch for any flies to emerge so that you can spray for them.
Arming yourself with knowledge about boxwood pests and their prevention will help to ensure that your boxwood has a long pest free life. It is also a good idea to find out different diseases that affect boxwoods as most are easy to prevent if you know enough about them.