This disease is caused by the fungus Volutella buxi. The first noticeable symptom is that certain branches or certain plants in a group do not start new growth as early in the spring as do others, nor is the new growth as vigorous as that on healthy specimens. The leaves turn from normal to light green to various shades of tan. Infected leaves turn upward and lie close to the stem instead of spreading out like the leaves on healthy stems. The diseased leaves and branches show small, rose-colored, waxy fruiting bodies of the fungus. The bark at the base of an infected branch is loose and peels off readily from the gray to black discolored wood beneath.

Prevention & Treatment: Dead branches should be removed as soon as they are noticeable. The annual removal and destruction of all leaves that have lodged in crotches is recommended. Applications of a copper fungicide or lime sulfur have been shown to be very effective in preventing canker. The first application should be made after the dead leaves and dying branches have been removed and before growth starts in the spring. Read and follow all directions on the label.