Beech Leaf Disease – What We Know about the Impact to Our Trees

Start Date Time : Jun 15, 2021 06:00 PM

End Date Time : Jun 15, 2021 07:00 PM



Join us for a virtual lecture with Dr. Robert Marra, a plant pathologist who is investigating the impacts of and potential controls for Beech Leaf Disease (BLD). Dr. Marra’s presentation will provide an overview of the current research about this disease, which has the potential to devastate beech trees across our region.


Beech Leaf Disease was first identified in Fairfield County in 2019, and has already had a profound impact on Fairfield County’s landscape. Since cases were first observed, the outbreak has become more widespread with infections being observed in all but one CT county. An increasing number of trees, both in forests and landscaped areas, are showing the telltale signs of infection: crinkly, brown, leathery leaves. Younger trees may die as early as three years after becoming infected, and the disease is believed to make infected trees more susceptible to other pests. Because the disease is fairly new, researchers are still learning about the disease and developing treatments and controls.


Dr. Marra is a researcher in the Department of Plant Pathology and Ecology at the CT Agricultural Experiment Station. His expertise is in plant pathology, mycology, fungal genetics, population biology, evolution, and molecular biology. He has studied numerous plant diseases across Connecticut, including pathogens in salt marsh grass, chestnut blight, neonectria fungus in birch, and Sudden Oak Death. Recently, he has been working to better understand the mechanisms and potential treatments of Beech Leaf Disease. Dr. Marra holds a BS in Biology and Russian from State University of New York at Binghamton and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology and Mycology from Cornell University.