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Beech Leaf Disease

Robert E. Marra, PhD 
June 15th, 2021 at 6:00 pm

Our Beech Trees are Dying

Learn about Beech Leaf Disease

Why Are Our Beech Trees Dying? The Beech Leaf Disease Threat in CT

Tuesday, June 15th at 6:00 pm via Zoom

Dr. Robert E. Marra of CT Agricultural Experiment Station

Co-sponsored by: Aspetuck Land Trust, Darien Land Trust, Greenwich Land Trust, New Canaan Beautification League, New Canaan Land Trust, New Canaan Conservation Commission, Norwalk Land Trust, Planet New Canaan, Stamford Land Conservation Trust, Wilton Land Conservation Trust


You’re not imagining it: our beech trees are dying. Beech leaf disease was first reported in North America in Ohio in 2012, traveled through parts of the upper Midwest and adjacent parts of Canada, and has since been moving east to make its appearance in CT in August 2019, along the Mianus River between Stamford and Greenwich. The disease has been observed mainly in forests, but also in landscaped areas. Beech leaf disease causes premature leaf drop and thin canopies, and also makes the trees more susceptible to other pests.


The disease is caused by an Asian nematode, Litylenchus crenatae, which attacks both American and European beeches. Join us to hear Dr. Robert Marra of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, discuss his leading research on this disease in our state. He is working with foresters at CT DEEP Forestry on tracking its occurrences in CT, and is very interested in hearing from arborists, tree wardens, and all others who believe they may have encountered the disease. All information will be helpful.


Robert E. Marra, Ph.D. is an Associate Scientist in the Department of Plant Pathology & Ecology at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Dr. Marra’s research encompasses various aspects of tree and plant diseases of urban and natural ecosystems. Current research centers on beech leaf disease, developing molecular tools that he will use to track movement and spread of the BLD nematode, Litylenchus crenatae subsp. mccannii. Dr. Marra recently developed a methodology using sonic and electrical-resistance tomography to nondestructively measure the amount of carbon sequestered in forest trees, in order to investigate the role that internal decay in forest trees plays in carbon cycling and the mitigation of global warming through carbon sequestration. Additionally, Dr. Marra conducts annual surveys for oak wilt and beech leaf disease.