Trees are blooming again in New York so now is the perfect time to keep your eyes peeled for beech tree leaf disease symptoms.
Symptoms include striping between the veins of the leaves. In early stages, this striping may only occur on a couple leaves on the tree. As the disease progresses, the striping becomes severe, causing the leaves to curl and take on a leathery texture. Curled leaves cannot photosynthesize as well, so heavily infected trees will grow weaker and decline year after year. As new leaves emerge on your local beech trees, check them for striping symptoms. Striping is easier to see from the underside of the leaves where the canopy is backlit by the sky.
Beech leaf disease (BLD) was first found in Ohio in 2012 and has now spread to 13 other states and provinces. In New York, BLD is present in over half of the counties, but it is most severe in the western and southeastern regions of the state. BLD is associated with a nematode in the buds of beech trees.
Take a photo of the underside of your beech leaves and report your findings on iMapInvasives, even if your tree does not have symptoms. Over 2,000 iMap reports were submitted in 2022, and the majority were records where BLD was not detected. This data helps DEC understand where BLD is not present, which is just as valuable as knowing where it is present.
For more information on BLD, visit the DEC webpage. For more information about BLD or any other tree pests & pathogens, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo of beech leaf striping provided.