Hi, I'm pretty sure sure this is beech bark disease, but it seems to have...

Asked June 18, 2014, 2:40 PM EDT

Hi, I'm pretty sure sure this is beech bark disease, but it seems to have overtaken the tree in just a couple of years. The tree is well over 20 years old, in a shady wooded area next to an old maple and old persimmons. It looks very healthy, if you go by the number of green leaves and branches it has, but large areas of the trunk and the base of branches are involved, from near the ground up into the crown, at least 30 feet up. I'm concerned about it being weakened and am planning to have it removed, but I wanted to get a second opinion in case it can be saved. Thanks.

Howard County Maryland

3 Responses

Our plant pathologist confirmed that your tree does not have beech bark disease. The affected area looks more like a physical injury which the tree has "healed" by compartmentalizing.

The first photo seems to show the site of a former branch, which may have been ripped off in an incident which damaged other bark. But, the 2nd photo shows a very long healed wound and it suggests that this tree may have suffered a minor lightning strike.

This tree looks very compromised and if it is in a place where would be dangerous if it fell, you should have it looked at by a professional arborist (certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.) They are often on the staffs of tree service companies. Just inquire, or select a company from this list: http://www.goodtreecare.com/?termsAgreed=1

If the tree is in a wooded area where it can stand dead and fall naturally, that is ideal because dead trees are a boon to a myriad of wildlife species.


Thanks. An arborist from Bartletts also thought it was not BBD, but I wanted to confirm that and to make sure there was nothing I could have done to save it. It is about 45-50 feet tall, and the damage goes all the way up the trunk. As you can see from the attached photos, it is only about 15 feet from my deck and if it fell in the wrong direction it could take out my deck, roof, my neighbors deck, or other good trees in my yard. So even though it might survive for more years, I will probably worry about it in every big storm, so unfortunately I think for safety it will have to come down. Thanks.