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Beech Tree Disease

By Diane Dilov-Schultheis ; Updated September 21, 2017

Beech trees are available in various varieties, with the most popular being the European beech type that are easily grown in USDA cold hardy zones 4 to 7. The second favorite is the American beech types that work well in zones 3 through 9. Mature beech trees can reach 50 to 60 feet in height with a spread anywhere from 35 up to 60 feet, depending on type and growing conditions.

Powdery Mildew

Beech trees infected with this fungal disease will show a powdery white matter on the leaves of the tree. It looks very similar to either flour or powder being thrown on the leaves. Powdery mildew can cause severe injury and alter the appearance of the leaves. Prevention consists of supplying sufficient daily sunlight and appropriate spacing when planting. Pruning diseased or overcrowded branches to get better air circulation and eliminating every diseased leaf fallen to the ground help avert powdery mildew. Fungicides are available to care for diseased trees.

Bleeding Canker

Beech trees with cankers that seep a brownish liquid are showing signs of the bleeding canker disease. It can kill the beech tree if left untreated. Cankers are lesions on the trunk or branches of the beech tree that gradually spread. Maintain an adequate growing atmosphere through supplying enough water during dry periods and the proper nutrients. Do not use fertilizers with high amounts of nitrogen on diseased trees. Trim infected beech trees to prevent diseased sections from spreading this infection.

Beech Bark

Beech trees can be infected with the fungal disease known as beech bark. It happens when the beech tree is infested with the scale insect that makes a hole in the bark for feeding. The hole created is an opening for the fungus to enter and spread throughout the beech tree. A white waxy substance left from the scale insect will be seen on the tree bark during the beginning stages of this disease. Prevention includes controlling the insect with horticultural oils; your county extension service can provide more information and instructions.

Leaf Spots

Various types of fungus diseases affecting the leaves of the beech tree are known as leaf spots. Symptoms first appear as tiny spots in different colors and sizes on the leaves. Trees with bad infestations will lose leaves too early. Control of leaf spot includes pruning away diseased areas to prevent further spreading. Rake up and eliminate all leaves found on the ground around the tree. Disinfect pruning tools when finished and do away with diseased cuttings.

Preventing Diseases

Beech trees can grow and be admired for years to come when properly taken care of on a regular basis. Provide well-draining compact soil in an area large enough for full growth. Supply water during low rainfall periods and/or mulch around the tree to maintain moisture and prevent weed growth. Contact your nearest extension office for more information on disease prevention and nutrient information. Continue to inspect the tree regular and treat any problems found immediately.


About the Author


Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.