New tree disease affects beeches

leaves with beech leaf disease
Striping is one of the symptoms of beech leaf disease. Photo courtesy Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (Ontario)

Beech leaf disease is a new tree disease that has been identified in Erie County.

It is listed on the “Top 10 Tree Insects & Diseases,” an article you will find in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters.

Beech leaf disease

Beech leaf disease (BLD) affects and kills both native and ornamental beech tree species.

BLD was just discovered in recent years and there is a lot we still don’t know about this disease, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It is associated with a nematode, Litylenchus crenatae mccannii, but we don’t know the full cause of the disease or how it spreads.

Symptoms of BLD are seen in the leaves and include striping, curling, and/or leathery texture. These symptoms may be visible starting with leaf out in May until leaves fall off in October. They are most easily noticed by looking up into the forest canopy.

In early infestations, only a few leaves may be affected. Eventually, affected leaves wither, dry, and yellow.

The DEC is collecting information on symptomatic beeches across New York State. If you spot what you think might be BLD, please report it to the DEC.

Dealing with tree problems

There are nine other tree problems listed in the “Top 10 Tree Insects & Diseases.” To get more information about any of these problems or to try to figure out what is wrong with your tree, contact the Master Gardeners in Erie County at mgerie@cornell.edu  or (716) 652-5400, ext. 202.

Find contact information for Master Gardeners in other counties here.

More gardening tips

Other topics in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters are:

WNY Gardening Matters is produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County.

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