HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Beech Leaf disease has been discovered in over 30 counties in New York State, including the Herkimer County Town of Salisbury. Department of Environmental Conservation’s Supervising Forester Scott Healy explains how this infects the trees. 

“It’s associated with a Nematoad, and affects American beech trees and it will usually kill a beech tree within two to seven years. It causes the leaves on the beach trees to have this kind of striping look to them which is best seen from the understory and then they slowly start to curl up and wilt and turn yellow and the leaves fall off,” said Healy.

There are still many unknowns when it comes to this disease, however, researchers do understand why this disease is a threat.

“It’s one of the few what we call amassed tree in our northern forests amassed tree is one that produces nuts so in New York State Sugar Maple beech yellow birch is a predominate forest type so if you remove beech trees from as black tail white tail deer turkey that rely on that food source of the beech nuts so if we lose our beech trees then those animals will have to resort to something else which there isn’t really any type of mass tree out there.

It’s important for the public to do their part to prevent this from spreading.

“The New York State DEC has a regulation where you can’t move firewood more than 50 miles and as with any invasive species we’ve found that the transportation of firewood is the number one way invasive spread so if you can limit moving firewood to less than 50 miles please do it try to buy locally,” said Healy.

If you think you t an invasive beech leaf disease you can upload pictures, and the location to foresthealth@dec.gov or you can report your findings through the Imapinvasives app.