Maryland Department Of Agriculture Confirms Tree-Killing Beech Leaf Disease In Harford County


The symptoms of Beech Leaf Disease are visible as dark banding or striping between the leaf veins. (Photo Credit: Maryland Department of Agriculture)

HARFORD COUNTY - The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced the detection of a tree-killing disease in Harford County.

According to MDA, Beech Leaf Disease, along with the associated nematode Litylenchus crenatae maccannii, pose a threat to all species of beech trees, including the American beech (Fagus grandifolia) and could lead to the death of mature trees within a decade.

Beech Leaf Disease is not new to the United States but is new to Maryland. It has previously been found in several surrounding states, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine.

The symptoms of Beech Leaf Disease are visible as dark banding or striping between the leaf veins. Trees that are heavily affected display leaves that are yellowing, shrunken, and thickened. The disease is capable of killing younger, understory trees within two years and can bring down mature trees in a span of six to ten years. Treatments for the disease are still under investigation.

"The team will continue to monitor and report the spread of Beech Leaf disease as it occurs. Homeowners are encouraged to do the same," said Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks.

Residents who observe symptoms of the disease can report their findings through the Tree Health Survey app (Tree Health Survey App) or email For further details about the disease, the University of Maryland has created a dedicated website.

In addition to Harford County, testing is underway in other counties to check for the Beech Leaf Disease and the nematode. The state has conducted ongoing surveillance through permanent survey plots across Maryland since 2019.

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