Recently the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has confirmed a case of invasive beech leaf disease in St. Clair County.
The disease has not been present in Michigan before. It is associated with the microscopic worm, Litylenchus crenatae, a nemoatode that enters and spends the winter in leaf buds causing damage to leaf tissue on American, European and Asian beech species. (MI Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development).
Trees affected by leaf damage can die within 6-10 years after initial symptoms. The trees are also more susceptible to other disease. Currently, there is no treatment available for beech leaf disease. Beech trees are already under attack from beech bark disease. This could be devastating to beech trees in our state.
Damaged leaf tissue, dead buds, and darkened thick tissue bands between leaf veins. The bands create a striped effect. Leaf curling and distortion, leaves that look withered, dried or yellow and a thin canopy. In heavily infested trees leaf loss could occur in early summer.
This is still a new disease and not much is known about it. If you think you have an effected beech tree please take photos of the tree including close ups of the leaves. Note the location, date and time and report it to the DNR. DNR-FRD-Forest-Health@Michigan,gov or call 517-284-5895.
For more information on beech leaf disease or other species on Michigan's watch list please visit Michigan.gov/Invasives.