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Box blight is a widespread disease of Buxus caused by the pathogen Calonectria pseudonaviculata. It is responsible for significant losses in nurseries, gardens and wild boxwood populations. Our goal was to maximize the efficiency of a breeding programme towards increased disease resistance. The use of artificial inoculation of young F1 seedlings with C. pseudonaviculata spores under greenhouse conditions appeared to be a reliable tool for early selection of interesting prebreeding material. Overall, the four hybrid populations screened showed a segregating behaviour between their parents when determining the percentage of diseased leaves and lesion diameter. Genotypes were also found with an increased tolerance as compared to the parental species. Approximately 50% of the seedlings had the same score for both parameters after artificial inoculation in the greenhouse and in the field. Of the seedlings that showed severe symptoms in the greenhouse, <15% showed no disease symptoms in the field. Therefore, for larger breeding programmes, we propose a two‐step selection procedure: first artificial inoculation at seedling level to eliminate all genotypes with severe symptoms and then evaluation of the remaining seedlings in the field. Using this strategy, we were able to select several genotypes in our four hybrid populations with improved resistance to C. pseudonaviculata.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Phytopathology
Pages (from-to)363-370
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 6989407