The Problem: CSA forests are under continued threat! Emerald Ash Borer has killed over 10% of our forest. Now a much worse threat is upon us: Beech Bark Disease. Beech trees make up a large part of the tree canopy of the CSA and create the character of the forest we know today. The good news is that there are now options to protect and treat these incredible trees. It will cost less and may last longer than the Ash Borer treatment.
What is Beech Bark Disease? Beech bark disease (BBD) is caused by both an insect, which comes first (see photo).The scales become covered with a white, wool-looking substance, eventually turning infested portions of the tree white. The presence of scale allows infection by the Neonectria fungi which then kills the wood, blocking the flow of sap. Affected trees decline in health and eventually die. Some heavily infected trees break off in heavy winds before dying – a condition called "beech snap". The earlier an infected tree is treated, the better its chances to survive. Between 3% - 10% of the beech trees are resistant to BBD.
What is at risk? The CSA canopy is dominated by Beech trees. These are the trees our grandparents gathered under when they were young. A number of Beech trees at the Assembly are over 100 feet tall and were saplings around the time of the Civil War. We are now about 4 years into BBD at the Assembly. Time is running short but there is still time to effectively treat the trees. If we leave the trees to die they will potentially become a hazard to people and property. Beech trees are very expensive to remove, and while treatment is not 100% effective, it is relatively inexpensive. A 15 inch diameter tree is cost approximately $100.
What can you do?
- Survey your property to see if there are Beech trees. Are they scale infected? Look for a white powder on the bark of the tree. If so, are you interested in getting treated? Please check the office to see if there is a scheduled treatment at CSA or call arborist Steve Fouch at 231-715-6022 or arborist Dan Schillenger at 231-633-8733 to let them know you’d like to have BBD treatment done. If you have a Beech tree with no sign of scale you are a winner! Please drop a note in the Forest Care Committee box in the Assembly Office to let us know where it is.
- Contribute to our BBD Treatment Fund. Make checks to CSA, and put “Beech Treatment” in the memo line. These funds will be used to offset the cost of treating Beech on CSA common property.
- One of the best ways to prepare for the changing forest is to take care of what we have. Take a look at the condition of your forest. Is it healthy? Are there young trees in the understory? Once these large trees come down we want to know that something will be there to take its place. Check out the list of recommended professionals available at the office, drop a note in the forest care box or talk to an ecology intern.
Pictured: Steve Fouch educating Ecology Interns - Hannah Burgener, Heidi Brockhaus and Tara Rodes - on Beech Bark Disease