Beech Leaf Disease Threatens Historic Grove In Brookline

New woodland plantation - young Beech tree

Photo: Getty Images

BROOKLINE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The small grove of trees at the Longwood Mall in Brookline have stood tall for nearly 200 years. It's the oldest collection of European beech trees in the U.S. and now they're under attack.

It's called Beech Leaf Disease (BLD) and was first detected in Plymouth in 2020. Recently, many communities in Massachusetts have been experiencing an uptick in the spread of BLD.

"We don't know exactly how it moves, we don't know exactly what the causal agent is. In terms of control, making sure the beech trees are in good, it's exceedingly difficult to do that," Brookline Tree Warden Tom Brady said.

Brady has been working with tree experts, certified arborists, licensed pesticide specialists and a UMASS Amherst extension plant pathologist to conduct site visits at suspected areas of concern since Fall 2021. As of right now, there are no known symptoms or signs that allow researchers to identify a tree diseased by BLD before it causes severe damage or death to the tree.

"Trees are part of the fabric of the community. Vitally important and they have been since it's inception and it's founding and continue to do so in this day and age. If we had a loss of the Beeches it would be quite striking and pretty impactful," Brady said.

WBZ NewsRadio's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports

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