Serious fungal disease may be spread by Christmas wreaths

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press

While holiday decorations are a thing of beauty - they may hide a hidden risk! The spread of agricultural disease and/or pests. The State of Michigan has issued warnings that holiday wreaths may be spreading boxwood blight, a plant disease throughout the state. Learn more about this plant disease in the excerpt below.

That pretty Christmas wreath hanging outside your door might be spreading an ugly new plant disease into Michigan — one that has caused millions of dollars in damage to farms and nurseries in other states.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) said Tuesday that boxwood blight was found in Michigan for the first time this fall, and wreaths containing boxwood may be a primary way that it's spreading.

The serious fungal disease attacks various species of boxwood, a common landscaping shrub.

"Boxwood blight is a devastating disease that has caused significant losses to homeowners and the nursery industry in states that already have the disease," Gina Allesandri, director of the department's Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division, said in a statement.