New ‘Even Bigger Threat’ Hurting New York Trees, Changing Forests
Officials are worried about a new disease that's impacting trees across the Hudson Valley and New York State. They are asking residents to report this issue immediately.
Over the weekend, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that Beech Leaf Disease (BLD), which affects all species of beech trees, was identified in at least 35 counties in New York State.
Beech Leaf Disease Found in 35 New York Counties
The DEC began tracking Beech Leaf Disease in 2018 after it was first confirmed in New York State in Chautauqua County. 14 of the 35 counties with BLD were confirmed in 2022, and more are likely to be identified, according to the DEC.
"Many American beech trees are already heavily impacted by beech bark disease, but Beech Leaf Disease appears to be an even bigger threat," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos stated. "The decline of beech in New York could have far-reaching consequences, including significant changes to the composition of our northern hardwood forests and the loss of a valuable food source for wildlife. Beech Leaf Disease affects all beech, so the impacts would also be felt in our urban forests where ornamental beech trees, including the popular copper beech cultivar, are widely used for landscaping and street trees."
Beech Leaf Disease Found in Orange, Sullivan, Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester, Rockland Counties in Hudson Valley, New York
Widespread in Suffolk, Westchester Counties in New York
Officials say Beech Leaf Disease is "widespread in Suffolk and Westchester counties. Many residents across New York State have been contacting DEC's Forest Health Diagnostic Lab asking for diagnosis and treatment options after landowners started to notice a rapid decline in the health of their beech trees," according to the DEC.
DEC Asks For Help
The DEC is asking the public to submit reports through NYimapInvasives if they encounter a beech tree showing signs of BLD, especially in counties where BLD has not yet been confirmed.
"At this time there are no specific recommendations for managing trees that are infected with BLD, however, DEC encourages the public to report potential BLD infections using iMapInvasives to help track the disease while research is ongoing," the DEC States