Beech Leaf Disease ‘widespread’ in Connecticut foliage, state scientists say

Environment

Dark Stripes in leaf veins indicate Beech Leaf Disease (Left). Cupping and browning of leaves also symptoms of Beech Leaf Disease (Right). (Photo: Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A disease that infects and eventually kills off beech trees and foliage is now spreading across the state, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES).

The Beech Leaf Disease can infect only American, European, and Oriental beech.

It was first discovered on foliage in Fairfield County in 2019. Now, scientists say it is “widespread” and “prevalent” on American Beech throughout Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London counties, and is showing signs of spreading into Litchfield, Tolland, and Windham counties.

You can see whether a beech leaf is infected by checking the veins; infected leaves will have dark stripings between the veins. Severe symptoms include aborted leaf enlargement, cupping, browning and yellowing of foliage, dieback, and even premature leaf drop.

Researchers believe last summer’s hot and dry weather, along with this year’s dry spring, is playing a role in these symptoms.

This disease can kill beech trees within several years of detection.

The disease was first found in Ohio in 2012, followed by detections in Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, Canada.

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