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New Beech Tree Leaf Disease Found In Worcester

Patch logo Patch 7/30/2020 Neal McNamara
a banana tree: Beech leaf disease can lead to tree death, according to state officials. © Shutterstock/SusaZoom Beech leaf disease can lead to tree death, according to state officials.

WORCESTER, MA — A new tree disease was detected this summer for the first in three locations across Massachusetts, including in Worcester.

Beech leaf disease was first found in Plymouth in June. State forestry officials later found the disease in Worcester and Blandford. The disease first emerged in the U.S. in 2012 in Ohio.

The disease is associated with a parasite called Litylenchus crenatae, which causes leaves to become weak, sometimes leading to tree death, according to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation. The state will survey Beech trees across the commonwealth for signs of the disease.

Beech trees are found widely across New England. The three main species, American beech, European beech, and Oriental beech, can all be impacted by the leaf disease. It's unclear how the disease spreads, and how long it takes for a tree to show symptoms.

You can report Beech leaf disease to the state. Distinctive dark marks on the leaf may be a sign of the disease.

"Early BLD symptoms will include dark stripes between the veins on leaves," DCR says. "When looking up at the tree canopy from underneath, you might notice dark green bands on the underside of the leaves. As the disease progresses, leaves may become withered, curled, or develop a leathery texture."


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