Beech Leaf Disease

dutch-elm
dutch elm beetle

Beech leaf disease (BLD) was first discovered on American beech trees (Fagus grandifolia) in Lake County, Ohio, in 2012. BLD was first found in Fairfield County, Connecticut, in 2019. The severity in trees vary, however in more advanced stages, BLD can lead to premature leaf drop, canopy dieback, aborted buds, and increased susceptibility to pests. Some characteristics of BLD are dark banding between leaf veins, leaf cupping, and discolorations. Looking at the underside of the leaves while looking up into the sun, you can notice the dark green or brown band striping. BLD is caused by a foliar nematode, which is a microscopic wormlike organism. BLD can kill Beech trees in 2-7 years once infected, depending on trees age and severity of infection. Since little is known about this disease, ongoing research is being done to uncover more information and ways to combat this disease. As of right now, to prevent the spread of this disease, movement of infected material such as firewood, should be avoided. An experimental treatment with a phosphite product has shown encouraging results in recent research. This treatment has little to no negative enviromental effects and can be administered via soil drench or soil injection. Click here to see a webinar by Rainbow Ecoscience for more in depth information on BLD.

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