A new disease called Beech leaf disease (BLD), associated with native and ornamental beech trees (Fagus spp.), has been making its way eastward from Lake Erie. First observed in 2012, trees show dark interveinal leaf banding, deformation of the banding tissue, and leaf curling under increased disease severity. Leaves can be stunted and leathery in appearance. Trees observed to have this disease show reduced vigor and can eventually die.
A nematode, Litylenchus crenatae subspecies mccanni, has been observed to be associated with trees showing BLD symptoms, however, it is not completely clear what the nematodes role in symptom development and effect on tree health. Nor is it clear exactly how this disease is moving around.
The disease and nematode have been detected in 10 states (CT, MA, MI, ME, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA), and although it has not been detected in Indiana, it has been observed to jump over county and state lines (See USDA Map Below), so I would recommend keeping your eyes peeled.
There are a number of look alike issues, including erineum galls, wooly aphid feeding injury, and beech anthracnose. For more information on this disease and the nematode, please see the links below for more information. If you find a symptomatic beech tree in Indiana, please submit a report either via the IDNR Report Invasive Species Website:
https://www.in.gov/dnr/rules-and-regulations/invasive-species/report-invasive-species/, calling 1-866-No Exotic (1-866-663-9684), or by sending an email to DEPP@dnr.in.gov.
If you find a symptomatic tree in a state other than IN, please reach out to the appropriate governmental agency to report your find.
Michigan Report for BLD Find
USDA Forest Service Resources
Map of Beech Leaf Disease