Heavy rainfall in 2012 has caused a record number of cases of box blight, which affects a popular plant used in box hedging.
3:48PM GMT 11 Feb 2013
The record rainfall of 2012 caused an all-time high in reports of the fungal disease box blight, which causes bare patches and dieback in the widely used hedging plant Buxus sempervirens.
The Royal Horticultural Society received 100 diseased box samples last year, double the record of 50 sent in during 2011 and 30 per cent more than the previous record year of 2008.
The RHS recommends only limited clipping of the shrub, made popular by numerous
designers, including Diarmuid Gavin and Tom Stuart-Smith, are used in show gardens at Chelsea each year.
RHS principal plant pathologist Beatrice Henricot, who is working on fungicide trials for the disease, said: “There have been more plants sent in because it has been so wet throughout the growing season. Once the disease starts it’s very difficult to control. Amateur gardeners can use cultural methods [rather than chemicals]. Clipping less is better so the plant is not so dense.”
She added: “I hope my research will bring something out, but we need more funding to better understand the disease. People who want to plant box will keep trying.”