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Environment & Energy

Yet Another Fast-Spreading Disease is Threatening Ohio Trees

beech tree nut

Researchers say they are stumped by a disease that’s infecting beech trees in Northeast Ohio.

Beech leaf disease can be identified by curling leaves with dark stripes. The leaves fall earlier than normal and prevents the tree from blooming the next season.

Mike Watson, conservation biologist at Holden Arboretum, says the cause of the disease and how it spreads is unknown.

“We’re watching it in the natural areas ... and were looking at how it moves and how it progresses and seeing it can go from a stand that appears to be clean in one year to over 50 maybe 60 percent of trees have it within two years. So it’s progressing quickly and it seems to be everywhere on the property.

Watson says the disease was first discovered in Painesville in 2012.

Ohio has been battling other tree diseases and insects for decades, including the emerald ash borer and the oak wilt fungus.