Beech leaf disease (BLD) poses an apparent threat to the survival of American beech trees (Fagus grandifolia) and the ecological health of the Eastern deciduous forests of North America. Affected trees exhibit symptoms including atypical leaf color and texture, reproductive abnormalities, canopy dieback, and mortality. The causal agent of BLD is as yet undetermined; however, given the rapid spread of BLD and variability in environmental conditions across its known geographic range, scientists suspect a microbe, particularly a virus or phytoplasma. BLD was discovered in 2012 in northeast Ohio, and has since infected beech stands in Pennsylvania, Ontario, and New York. BLD may also impact forests globally; specimens of European (F. sylvatica) and Oriental (F. orientalis) beech in Ohio nurseries have exhibited BLD symptoms. Widespread and on-going detection efforts for BLD will aid researchers and forest managers in understanding and potentially limiting the impact of this emerging forest threat.
Join the Natural Areas Association for a webinar by Dr. Constance Hausman at noon, August 28, 2019 to hear the latest news on BLD, learn how to identify it, and understand how it may affect forests locally, regionally, and globally.
Ewing, C.J., C.E. Hausman, J. Pogacnik, J. Slot, P. Bonello. 2018. Beech leaf disease: An emerging forest epidemic. Forest Pathology. https://doi.org/10.1111/efp.12488
Ohio DNR. July 2016. Forest Health Pest Alert: Beech Leaf Disease.