There is a new disease that is hurting trees across the region and here in the Valley.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Beech leaf disease is now in nine Ohio counties and parts of Pennsylvania.
The disease was first discovered in Lake County in 2012 and has quickly spread.
Trees with Beech leaf disease have dark striping or banding on the leaves that look like zebra stripes.
Plant pathologists are studying the disease, but they don’t know what causes it. There is no insect or fungus on the leaves. Since a cause hasn’t been determined, there are no recommendations to save the trees.
Tom Macy, forest health program administer with ODNR, says the long-term impact doesn’t look good.
“In progressive seasons as the years pass, the symptoms seem to get worse. You get leathery sort of disfigured, wilted leaves. Eventually, the branches start to die back and no leaves are produced on the branches,” Macy said.
Pathologists think within several years, the disease will kill small trees. They also note that once an area is infected, it has not recovered.
A case of Beech leaf disease was found here in the Valley. It was spotted at Mill Creek Park just a few weeks ago in the Lanterman’s Mill area. It’s the first case confirmed in the immediate area.
“In this area, a large majority of the trees are showing signs. Elsewhere in the park, we have not really found it yet. This has been a pretty recent find here,” said Nick Derico, natural resources steward for Mill Creek MetroParks.
ODNR is asking everyone to not move Beech trees or their wood to prevent spreading the disease. Also, if you spot the disease, report it email@example.com or use the BLD section of the NE Ohio Parks app available at parkapps.kent.edu.