THREAT TO THE MIGHTY BEECH
Beech Leaf Disease (BLD) is a new challenge for New England landscapes. It was first identified in Ohio in 2012, and has since been found in 10 US states and one Canadian province. Seemingly misnamed a "disease", BLD may not actually be a disease at all - but a condition caused by a parasitic nematode. It causes damage to a tree's leaves, leading to reduced vigor and eventually death.
First, leaves develop dark striations along the veins. Later, the leaves become more uniformly darker and crinkle. The canopy begins thinning and limbs stop forming new buds. This eventually leads to death.
While there is still much to learn, our team has been in constant communication with researchers and product development teams, who are working swiftly to determine the best course of action. While the current recommended treatment is in short supply, experts generally agree that it should be applied in late summer and early fall to eradicate the largest number of nematodes. If treated earlier and more often, it is thought that the parasites might develop a resistance to the vaccine and re-emerge.
Litylenchus crenatae mccannii (Anguinata) Possible suspect of the cause of Beech Leaf Disease is this newly discovered nematode from Asia. Photo courtesy ofUSDA/ARS/ELECTRON & CONFOCAL MICROSCOPY UNIT/LYNN CARTA/GARY BAUCHAN/CHRIS POOLEY/MYCOLOGY AND NEMATOLOGY GENETIC DIVERSITY AND BIOLOGY LABORATORY; COLORIZATION BY IT SPECIALIST/SOYBEAN GENOMICS AND IMPROVEMENT LABORATORY
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
The MA DCR Forest Health Program would like your help in monitoring the effects of its progress. You can contact our arborists or Nicole.email@example.com with location and/or pictures. For more information on this critical condition, please read the Mass.Gov Beech Leaf Diseas Fact Sheet. Any transfer of firewood is also discouraged, as that can aid in the rapid spread.
FROM OUR COMMUNITY.....
Here are some recent photos of Beech trees affected by BLD in the Boston Metrowest area. Our arborists are finding that a significant number of trees lightly (or not at all) affected in 2022, are now severely compromised with the rapid spread of the condition.
The series of photos above show various BLD presentations on the leaves. After initial dark veining or spotting, leaves become leathery and crinkled. The newly emerging leaves are small and struggling to thrive. A view of the whole tree illustrates how the leaves are disappearing from the top down.