Boxwood (Buxus)

Leaf Feeders

Boxwood leafminer in leaf and exposed
Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky Entomology
Boxwood leaf miners are flat, legless maggots that spend the winter in small yellow blotchy or blister-like mines inside leaf tissue. The mined or "blistered" leaves become evident in mid-summer and may drop prematurely. The larvae complete development in the spring and adults (small gnats) emerge and lay eggs in leaf tissue from mid- to late April. There is one generation each year. A preventive foliar spray should be applied to the undersides of leaves in mid-May.


Sap Feeders

Boxwood psyllid
Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky Entomology

Boxwood psyllid cupped leaves
cupped leaves - Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky Entomology
Boxwood psyllids are small, light green aphid-like insects that feed on tender terminal leaves. This results in a distinctive cupping of the leaves and may affect twig growth. All boxwoods are attacked but American boxwood is very susceptible. These psyllids spend the winter as eggs in bud scales and hatch as buds open in the spring. There is one generation each year.

Boxwood spider mite damage
Eric R. Day, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University,
Boxwood mites cause leaves to become bronzed and speckled or to have a gray cast. Fine silk webbing may be seen on the leaves. New foliage is most susceptible to attack and plants in sunny locations may be more prone to attack.

Cottony cushion scale
Sturgis McKeever, Georgia Southern University,
Cottony cushion scale is an invasive scale species that can be found feeding on the sap of numerous species of plants. Adult females are orange-brown but coated with white wax and will have a long, fluted egg sac attached to the body. This can contain up to 1,000 eggs. After hatching, the nymphs (which are red with dark antennae and legs) will seek a suitable space for feeding. Nymphal feeding on leaves can cause extensive damage and honeydew/black sooty mold will accumulate as the population builds.


banner image: John Ruter, University of Georgia,
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