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Beech leaf disease found in Michigan

"Splendor of a Michigan Beach/Maple Forest" by desertdutchman is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Another tree-damaging pest has been found in Michigan.

Beech leaf disease is another in an onslaught of invasive insects and diseases killing trees in Michigan.

Simeon Wright is with the Department of Natural Resources. He says a microscopic worm is damaging beech tree leaves. "You get very stunted, distorted, and puckered leaves, then eventually buds that don't unfurl in the springtime," he says.

The trees can die in six to ten years. Michigan has already been hit by emerald ash borers, Dutch elm disease, and others. More are coming.

"Asian longhorn beetle, which impacts maples. Spotted lanternfly that would be a significant agricultural pest," Wright warns.

Researchers are working with state foresters to develop hybrid trees that are more resilient to some of the pests and diseases.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.