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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383784

Research Project: Evaluation and Genetic Improvement of Woody Ornamental Landscape Plants

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

Title: Analyzing the structural shifts in boxwood production due to boxwood blight

item HALL, CHARLES - Texas A&M University
item HONG, CHUANXUE - Virginia Polytechnic Institution & State University
item Gouker, Fred
item DOUGHTREY, MARGERY - Cornell University

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Horticulture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/2/2021
Publication Date: 9/28/2021
Publication URL:
Citation: Hall, C., Hong, C., Gouker, F.E., Doughtrey, M. 2021. Analyzing the structural shifts in boxwood production due to boxwood blight. Journal of Environmental Horticulture. 39(3):91-99.

Interpretive Summary: The green industry remains an important contributor to the U.S. economy and to individual states and regions. This is a broad-based industry with landscape services and wholesale-retail trade sectors existing in virtually all communities in the nation. Boxwood shrubs represent an important commodity in the evergreen shrubs category, yet they are threatened by a devasting fungal disease called boxwood blight. This report presents findings that are critical to understanding the boxwood market and the impact that boxwood blight has on the green industry. This report gives industry professionals data to assist in making strategic decisions to mitigate the effect of boxwood blight in their respective businesses. In addition, policymakers have better information to allocate resources efficiently to combat this disease.

Technical Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the changes in the sales of boxwood that have occurred in boxwood production states. We theorize that some of the shifts in production areas over the period of 2009 to 2019 have been impacted by the introduction of boxwood blight into the U.S. Boxwood blight (Calonectria pseudonaviculata) was first observed in the U.S. in 2011 by plant pathologists in Connecticut, North Carolina, and Oregon, and is now in 30 states plus the District of Columbia. The data used for this analysis is from the Census of Horticultural Specialties (CHS), a survey administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) every five years. The findings from this analysis of the Census of Horticultural Specialties data from 2009-2019 indicate that there were already shifts occurring in boxwood markets prior to the introduction of boxwood blight. However, boxwood blight has exacerbated the supply chain challenges for green industry participants by limiting production in certain areas of the country, increasing the costs of producing boxwood compared to other evergreen shrubs, and perhaps dampening the demand from what might have been without the existence of the blight.