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We are busy growing and preparing for another amazing spring here at Van Putte Gardens.  This season, we are also prepared to contend with another invasive pest that is now present within the Rochester, NY area – the box tree moth.

What is it?

The box tree moth (BTM, Cydalima perspectalis) is native to East Asia.  It is currently a destructive pest in parts of the United States and Canada.  The larvae or caterpillars feed exclusively on boxwood shrubs (Buxus species), which are also native to Asia and parts of Europe. 

Why do we care?

Boxwoods are popular ornamental evergreen shrubs that are commonly grown in both residential and commercial landscapes.  You may already have boxwoods in your landscape or may be considering them for future landscape needs.  Box tree moths feed heavily on boxwood leaves.  Once a plant is completely defoliated, the larvae begin eating bark, which girdles the stems, resulting in death of the plant.

Are there measures in place to stop the spread?

Yes.  As of January 2024, Niagara, Orleans, Erie, Genesee, Wayne, and Monroe Counties are all part of a boxwood quarantine zone.  Transport of boxwood anywhere outside of these counties is prohibited.  Van Putte Gardens is in full compliance with the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets regarding the sale, tagging, and transport of boxwood.  We are responsible for tracking all boxwood that enter and leave Van Putte property.  If you are purchasing boxwood please expect to give your full name, phone number, and full planting address, including county.  We cannot sell you boxwood unless this information is provided.  If you are a landscape contractor, you must provide your client’s address. 

What can we do?

Plan to keep a close watch on your boxwood throughout the growing season.  The best way to prevent a BTM infestation is early detection and treatment.  Most infestations begin on the interior of the plant, so look carefully over the entire shrub.   Watch for moth activity, chewed leaves, little green and black caterpillars, and the webbings they create.  Box tree moth can have several overlapping generations from May until October.  If you suspect BTM, please bring us a sample or photo.    

What are the treatment options?

Thankfully, with proper detection and timing, BTM is controllable with several natural and chemical treatments such as All Seasons Horticultural Oil, Captain Jack’s Neem Oil, Eight Insect Control, and/or Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew.  Stop by Van Putte Gardens and let our green thumb staff guide you on what’s available and how to apply.  In severe cases, boxwoods should be cut at the ground, placed in plastic bags, and disposed of in your household trash.  Do not put infested boxwood cuttings into your mulch or compost piles as this will further the spread.


At Van Putte Gardens, we have been inspected and cleared that our boxwoods are clean. If you are looking to purchase Boxwood shrubs, please be prepared to give the following: full name, address, phone number, and planting locations as these are things that are required to be recorded by NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets at time of purchase.

It is prohibited that any Boxwood purchased in Monroe County be planted outside of the quarantine zone.

If you have questions or would like to send photos of possible BTM infestations, please email me,

-Jenna Holzschuh, MS

Green Goods Buyer/Manager

Sources and additional information:

Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: Box Tree Moth

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