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Beech Leaf Disease

Note from March, 2023:

The trees of Longwood Mall were treated for Beech Leaf Disease in the Fall of 2022. So far, there has been no evidence that any of the Longwood Mall trees were infected. We still don't know the ultimate outcome of the treatments, but we are hopeful that they will protect the trees. Check Latest News for the most recent information about the health of the trees.

From the Wikipedia page:

Beech leaf disease is a newly discovered lethal disease of beech trees believed to be caused by the nematode Litylenchus crenatae mccannii. The symptoms of the disease appear as a dark green, interveinal banding pattern on the lower canopy foliage, eventually spreading throughout the tree. The symptoms appear to progress through the buds and no new leaves are produced. This eventually results in the death of the tree. The disease has the potential to drastically alter the Eastern deciduous forests of the United States on its own and through potential compounding disease effects.

The disease affects the native American beech as well as the commonly planted European beech. The estimated economic and environmental cost of the loss of the beech in Ohio alone is $225 million. The disease has no known cure.


The disease is caused by a type of nematode that feeds inside the leaves. The nematodes feeding cause dark bands in the leaves. The worms are most damaging to young trees, which can die in less than five years after the first signs of damage appear. In places where the disease is established, it can prove fatal to 90% of saplings.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service believes that insects, birds, as well as human movement are all possible modes of transport for the nematodes.

Disease range

Since its discovery in Lake County, Ohio in 2012, it has rapidly spread to 14 counties in Ohio, as well as to western Pennsylvania, Western New York, and Ontario, Canada. In 2020, it has been identified in eastern New York, Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. In 2021 it was found in Maine, in Lincolnville, Waldo County, and in northern Virginia, in Prince William County.

Webinar on Beech Leaf Disease

Webinar on Beech Leaf Disease

In February 2023, the Newport Tree Conservancy had a great webinar about Beech Leaf Disease. There was a lot of information on what has been discovered about BLD and the new treatments that have become available.


Boston 25 News story on BLD

In August 2022, Boston 25 News did a story about Beech Leaf Disease that featured Longwood Mall, Brookline Parks Director Alexandra Vecchio, and Tree Warden Thomas Brady. Read or view the story at this link.

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