NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - A disease that can kill trees within several years of detection is now considered to be widespread in Connecticut.
Beech Leaf Disease, which impacts American, European and Oriental beech trees, was first detected in lower Fairfield County back in 2019.
According to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, it's now prevalent throughout Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex, and New London counties. It also appears to be spreading into Litchfield, tolland and Windham counties, but not as severely.
Beech Leaf Disease was first discovered in 2012 in Ohio, the CAES said. In the years to come, it spread into Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, Canada.
The main symptom looks like dark striping between leaf veins. This year more severe symptoms were reported, including aborted leaf enlargement, cupping, browning, yellowing of foliage, branch and tip dieback, and in some cases, premature leaf drop.
The CAES and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection believe that the heat and dryness of last summer, combined with this year's dry spring, are playing a role.
Connecticut scientists have joined with those from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada to study the disease and look for a means to control it.