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FairfaxFairfax officials: Blight is impacting beech trees

Fairfax officials: Blight is impacting beech trees

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If the leaves of beech-tree saplings have dark-green stripes in the veins, or if more mature trees have reduced foliage, they may be showing signs of beech-leaf disease, Fairfax County officials said Jan. 12.

Infected trees also may exhibit puckered, cupped or distorted leaves.

The disease, first seen in Ohio in 2012, has been confirmed in Fairfax County, officials said. The county’s Urban Forest Management Division has been monitoring the situation closely since last September, when the disease was detected in Burke Lake, Fountainhead and Hemlock Overlook parks.

Given that the American beech tree comprises a large portion of trees in the eastern U.S., the disease potentially could alter the composition of forests.


There is research under way to learn more about beech-leaf disease and how to treat it effectively. Experts are looking into the possibility that transmission may be through bacteria, fungi and mites.

The disease is not harmful to humans, animals or other tree species and yard plants, county officials said.

Officials urge residents who think a tree may be infected to report it to pestmail@fairfaxcountygov and include pictures of the tree. Reports also can be made by calling (703) 324-1770 (TTY 711).

Reporting potential infestations will allow the Urban Forest Management Division quickly to begin monitoring beech-leaf disease and providing treatment once it is developed.

For more information about beech-leaf disease, see the Website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/trees/beech-leaf-disease.

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