The Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

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Volutella Blight on Pachysandra

Gail Ruhl, Sr. Plant Disease Diagnostician, Dept. of Botany & Plant Pathology, Purdue University

Volutella stem and leaf blight is the most devastating fungal disease of Pachysandra. This disease can destroy large areas in a bed. Infected leaves first develop tan or brown blotches with dark brown margins, which expand, often with concentric lighter and darker zones. Stem and stolon cankers can become numerous and plants start to wilt and die. Cankers appear as water-soaked diseased areas, turn brown, shrivel and often girdle the stem. Orangish spore masses develop in the cankered areas and the underside of infected leaves.

Volutella blight of pachysandra is often associated with plant stresses such as recent transplanting, exposure to bright sunlight, shearing, scale insects, and previous winter damage. Normally this disease does little damage to vigorous plants, thus providing good growing conditions is the most important control measure.

Applications of fungicides such as chlorothalonil or mancozeb can help if multiple applications are made during periods of active growth of the pachysandra (much of the growing season, unfortunately), but it has been reported that mowing the planting when foliage is dry to 1-2" (with a bagger attached to catch the diseased tissue), and avoiding overhead irrigation are often the more practical solutions.

Severely diseased plants with basal stem cankers should be dug out and destroyed.


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Dieback due to Volutella blight

Dieback due to Volutella blight

Stem cankers and blighted leaves

Stem cankers and blighted leaves

Spore masses forming on stems during moist conditions

Spore masses forming on stems during moist conditions

Leaf lesions

Leaf lesions

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service