Winter 2020

The science of preserving nature since 1964

Our Beloved Beech Trees Are Once Again Under Attack

Beech trees are one of the country's most loved and beloved trees. They are a dominant canopy species and one of the most shade tolerant hardwood species in the forest. Their fruit, the beechnut, has fed people and animals for centuries. The wide-spreading canopy provides great shade in the summer and beautiful bronze coloring in the fall. It is a versatile tree, often used in parks, golf courses, acreages, and the forestry industry. Their smooth gray trunks and trunk flares can resemble giant elephant legs and feet. Since the late 1800s, however, millions of beech trees have been impacted by various threats like beech bark disease, bleeding canker, Ambrosia beetle and drought and have managed to survive.

Now they are facing a new threat...

Beech Leaf Disease (BLD) is a relatively new disease (discovered in 2012) that has now been confirmed in several places in our region — including Westchester, Rockland, and Suffolk counties in New York as well as in Fairfield County, Connecticut. It affects all beech including American beech (Fagus grandifolia), European beech (Fagus sylvatica) as well as Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis).

BLD causes an otherwise healthy-looking tree to develop deep green patches between the veins of its leaves (see image). In a later stage, the leaves become thick and leathery and eventually crinkle up. The buds on these branches also die and stop producing leaves. It is believed that nematodes are the carrier but research is still being done to determine the ultimate cause and potential controls. The frequent rains and mild temperatures this year were probably extremely favorable to the development of the disease in our region.

There is, currently, no guaranteed treatment for Beech Leaf Disease, however systemic trunk and soil injections may provide some control of the pest and slow the progression of the disease. Please talk to your Almstead arborist about these new treatment options and the best care management program.

Looking up into the canopy of the tree can help you spot the leaf striping caused by Beech Leaf Disease.



Lower Westchester County, NY and New York City

58 Beechwood Ave, New Rochelle, NY 10801



Upper Westchester (North of I-287)

15 Broadway, Hawthorne, NY 10532



Fairfield County, Connecticut

547 Hope Street, Stamford CT 06907



Bergen & Passaic Counties, NJ

504 High Mountain Road, North Haledon, NJ 07508



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