Boxwood blight, a fungal disease that wreaks havoc on the shrub, has closed a portion of the historic Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library gardens as the WWPL prepares to remove the 83-year-old plants. Designed by landscape architect Charles F. Gillette, the boxwoods were planted in 1933 as a Restoration Garden project of the Garden Club of Virginia. The garden is one of 13 historic gardens designated and maintained by club.
The Boxwood blight (Cylindrocladium buxicola) disease was first identified in Virginia in 2011. By 2013, several properties around the Commonwealth were infected with the fungus. Symptoms of the disease include brown leaf spots that lead to defoliation and black streaking on box¬wood stem tissue. Some cultivars of boxwood are more susceptible to the disease, with the most susceptible being English boxwood. This disease has spread to other states as well. For more information on this disease, visit the Virginia Tech or the Saunders Brothers web site.
The lower gardens where hundreds of the shrubs grow has been closed to the public since late October. Because specialized procedures are required to remove the boxwood, the cost of the project is estimated at more than $50,000. Some operating funds will be used to cover the cost, but the foundation is planning to have fundraisers to help offset the cost of the project. Landscape architect William Rieley, of Charlottesville, will then be tasked to with the new garden’s design.
If you would like to donate to the Boxwood fund, you may do so on our website at www.woodrowwilson.org or simply click on this Donate Now link. Be sure to check the “in tribute of” box and write in BOXWOOD. All money raised will be used for the removal of the boxwood. Any additional monies will go toward the new garden