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Georgia Petersen of MSUS writes:
"Beech bark disease is a fungus spread via a scale insect. Specifically, at least two different species of nectria fungus (accidentally introduced to the U.S. via European nursery stock in the late 1800s) is introduced into susceptible beech trees via the beech scale, a tiny sap-feeding insect that pierces the thin bark of the tree.
The fungus introduction results in canker development that eventually cuts off the flow of water and nutrients, killing the tree over the course of a few years. The widespread death of beech stands in the state have led to “beech thickets,” which occur via dense sprouting from the roots of the dead parent trees.
The telltale sign of beech bark disease infestation is the appearance of a fuzzy, whitish coating on the tree’s bark and branches. This is the wooly, waxy coating that covers the bodies of the scale insect.
Unfortunately, there is no known way to prevent the spread of the disease in forested settings, although there do seem to be some trees that appear to have natural resistance to the fungus."
According to MSUE however, the fungus can sometimes be mistaken for aphids or lichens.
Northern Tree Service can help you identify this fungus.
Give them a call today for a FREE consultation. (906) 203-1615