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DEC warns beech leaf disease is spreading

Jul 17, 2022 1:00 am

Larry Rulison is reporting for the Times Union the state Department of Conservation says a mysterious disease is killing beech trees in 35 counties in New York. Beech leaf disease first appeared in western New York in 2018 and later on Long Island and Westchester County. The DEC says now the same disease made it east to Herkimer County this year, bringing it relatively close to the Capital Region. Beech leaf disease currently has no cure. The disease can kill a mature tree in six to 10 years and saplings within two years. It is believed to be associated with small worms called nematodes that feed on beech leaves and buds. Scientists are not sure if the worms cause the damage that kills the trees or something else is responsible, such as a virus, bacteria or a fungus. “Many American beech trees are already heavily impacted by beech bark disease," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement. "But beech leaf disease appears to be an even bigger threat." Seggos said that the new disease will have an impact on both forests and on city and suburban streets where cooper beech trees are extremely popular for commercial and residential landscaping and to line streets. The decline of the beech tree could have far-reaching consequences, the commissioner said. DEC is asking that if the public notices the disease on beech trees in their location, they report it online at NY imap Invasives [dot] org. Read the full story in the Times Union.