A mysterious disease only recently discovered is quickly killing beech trees all across New York.

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The disease is called beech leaf disease, or BLD, and it is taking down trees both in urban and in wooded environments.

What’s perhaps most frustrating is that very little is known about beech leaf disease. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says that it is unknown what causes the disease. How the disease spreads, or how to manage the disease.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Beech trees are one of the most common types of trees in New York and scientists say that the beech leaf disease can kill a tree of any age in just two to seven years, however younger trees die at a much faster rate.

Beech leaf disease has been discovered in Western. Central, and Northern areas of New York as well as in counties located closer to New York City. The disease was first discovered in Ohio in 2012 and has spread not only into New York, but also to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Ontario, Canada.

New York State Department of Conservation
New York State Department of Conservation
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The New York State Department of Conservation says that the symptoms of the beech leaf disease in trees can be seen by looking at the leaves and noticing “striping, curling, and/or leathery texture.”

Beech leaf disease can be seen from May until the leaves fall from the trees, generally in October. The easiest way to spot the disease is to look up into the forest canopy. In early infestations, only a few leaves may be affected.

New York State Department of Conservation
New York State Department of Conservation
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If you think you have any trees on your property that may be infected, the DEC says that you should take a series of photos showing the leaf symptoms along with the tree’s bark and if possible, a photo of the entire tree. You should take photos by holding the leaf up to list or take with your camera pointed up through the forest canopy. After taking photos, you should submit a report through the DEC’s iMapInvasives website.

If you have any other questions about your trees, you should email foresthealth@dec.ny.gov or call 1-866-640-0652.

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