Deadly Beech Leaf Disease Identified Across Connecticut and Rhode Island
A mysterious nematode first identified near Cleveland in 2012 has been spotted in seven Connecticut counties and Rhode Island this summer. The nematode has been tied to the deadly Beech leaf disease that has wreaked havoc on beech trees from Lake Erie to the Atlantic Ocean.
We are really concerned because we are not left with much else in the forest now, oaks and hickories and birches, and then beeches said Robert Marra, a scientist with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
After Going back 150 years, said Marra there would have been abundant chestnuts, elms, ashes, and walnuts, but the northeastern forests have changed dramatically as new diseases and pests have been introduced.
The Beech trees are prized as attractive trees, but beechnuts are also an important source of fall and winter food for forest-dwelling animals from chipmunks to blue jays to black bears.
The Beech leaf disease causes characteristic dark green lines between veins on American and European beech leaves infected by a particular nematode. The leaves turn yellow and become wrinkled and rubbery, and will die when heavily infected. According to James LaMondia, a scientist with the research station said that over time, the tree canopy will thin and the disease will fill the leaf buds, and may ultimately kill the tree.