Beech leaf disease sounds like bad news

Beech trees are pretty important species in NE forests, as this quote notes:

Borden said the disease has proved difficult to manage, especially in forests.

“There’s virtually no way to easily combat it,” he said. “And it is affecting a species that is really crucial to not only our landscapes but our eastern forest ecosystems. So based on all of those criteria, it’s a far higher threat than spotted lantern fly.”

Has anyone seen signs of this disease on your land or in your area? The first photo in that article shows what to look for in the leaves:


That stinks. Many were already hit by Emerald Ash Borer in recent past.

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In my area it’s almost hard to find a healthy beech tree, it really is unfortunate.

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theres a bark fungus killing them for the last 20yrs now. dont remember the name. sadly my grandkids will never harvest beechnuts like me and my kids did.

The emerald ash borer only attacks ash trees. The beech are dying in many places from beech bark disease.


Yeah, the article mentions that this new disease is on top of other diseases like that one. The beeches just can’t catch a break lately!

Lots of Beech here and I’ve not noticed this or anything else bothering them so far. So far…

EAB just hit local Ash trees in the past few years, they’re pretty much all gone now. Hemlocks are mostly all gone as well, thanks to HWA. Black Locust are few and far between…

And we’ve now had at least 4 mature White Oaks die, do not as of yet know the cause.

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Perhaps sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum)? I know it’s been spreading in many areas, but not sure about there.

This disease was first found in Maine a few years ago the next town over. That same year it was In my woodlot, and I don’t mean just a little… almost every beech has it. It causes their leaves to only half open all wilted looking with yellowing and necrosis soon following. It is a slow death due to lack of photosynthesis, although none have died yet, I’ve read it can take 8-10 years to fully kill the tree. It’s very unfortunate as beech is an important hard mast for wildlife around here. Only the oaks will remain after losing the chestnut over a century ago.

Although it sucks to be at ground zero for something like this I would encourage anyone that has this in their woodlot to take pause and learn from previous mistakes. When the American Chestnut was dieing in mass it was common for people to harvest all of the chestnut trees for lumber to make use of them before they succumbed to the disease. It made short term economic sense. The only problem with this practice is that if there were any individuals in the population with natural immunity to the disease, we would never know because they were cut down too soon to observe it. I plan on leaving my diseased beech and observing. Perhaps if a few individuals survive the onslaught we may reseed our forests with these genetics in the future.

Here is a pic of the leaves:


Yeah that is probably highest on my list of suspects. Any suggestions on how to deal with it? My research so far hasn’t turned up much.

Last summer the leaves of a probably ~7’ circumference tree suddnenly wilted and were brown shortly thereafter. Many of those leaves are still hanging in it now whereas on healthy whiteoaks they come off in the fall. Soon afterwards I started noticing “sawdust” at the base of it. Are some kind of borers the culprit or are they simply opportunistic in attacking an already unhealthy tree?

Sucks having multipel 100+ yr old trees suddenly dying. I’d sure like to prevent any more…


Our American Beech has been infested with Beech Bark Disease for many years now. Scale introduces fungi under the bark of the tree, and they decline and eventually die. Under stress the tree begins to sprout new trees from its root system and a mass of saplings surround the original tree. Trees never get more than 6-8" in diameter before they’re infested and sprouting their own saplings. It’s become such a problem that this once grand native tree is actually choking out other native trees. Forestry services instruct property owners to remove American Beech in order to maintain a healthy woodlot. I’ve milled a couple small beech, the lumber is beautiful, but there’s little commercial demand for it. In our woodlots the tree is really a nuisance because of the Beach Bark disease and the trees regenerative cycle.

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wont have to worry about them now that this leaf disease is around. beech trees will probably become extinct in the next 20 or so years. one bad disease is bad enough but 2? like the Dutch elm disease that wiped them out up here in the 70’s but some ones in remote fields survived have started to come back but it took 50 yrs. and they aren’t being replanted to help them out as no one wants to have theirs die of the disease.