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Beech Trees Suffer Epidemic Decline

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Mar 31, 2016 3:57:11 PM

An epidemic decline is affecting European Beech trees up and down the east coast. Beech trees are being infected by a fungus that causes bleeding cankers on the lower trunk and eventual die-off in the upper branches. If this fungus is left untreated the tree will die within five years.

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Beech Phytophthora pathogen is the culprit. This fungus enters wounds and succulent roots causing cankers that ooze reddish-brown sap. Eventually, new leaves remain small and yellow, and branches begin to die.

These ‘bleeding’ cankers cause the cambium, the living layer of the tree where most vital cellular activity takes place, to lose moisture and dry out. This leads to root loss and canopy decline resulting in the death of the tree.

Treatment with a broad spectrum fungicide, applied to the trunk,  can stop the damage, allowing the tree to recover, essentially ‘healing the wounds’.  

Helping a tree to grow is the most important thing to improve the health of a sick tree. Radial trenching with an air spade, backfilling with compost and deep root, liquid fertilization have proven to be the best methods to increase and invigorate tree growth. [Learn more about plant health care here]

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Please note that Beech Phytophthora only affects European Beech trees, not American Beech.  European Beech are the most common variety used in landscape plantings.

If you would like a Certified Arborist to inspect your Beech trees, as well as the other trees and plants on your property, please click below for a free consultation.

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Topics: plant health care