Issue 3, June 7, 2023

Abnormal Ginkgo and Beech Trees

Recent high temperatures have reached into the 90s. That makes it easy for us to forget that we had some very cold nights in late April and early May. Overnight lows dipped into the 20s injuring some plants that had broken dormancy and started to leaf out. Frost injury may explain the odd appearance of some ginkgo and European beech trees. I’ve received several reports of thin, sparse canopies and deformed leaves on both species.

Ginkgo tree with thin, sparse canopy from suspected frost injury

Ginkgo tree browning leaves from suspected frost injury

Common symptoms on Ginkgo include:

  • Thin, sparse tree canopy
  • Older leaves with tan-brown necrosis advancing from the apex to the petiole
  • New growth green, but stunted and straplike

Common symptoms on European beech include:

  • Thin, sparse tree canopy
  • Stunted distorted leaves
  • Terminal buds failed to open
  • American beech, Fagus grandifolia, seems to be unaffected.

Purple European beech with thin, sparse canopy from suspected frost injury

Purple European beech with suspected frost injury

The good news is that frost injury won’t affect the long-term health of the tree. Damaged or destroyed leaves may drop from the tree, but new leaves will develop by early summer. Consider providing extra care to any affected trees. The moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions covering much of the state could cause additional stress and injury.

Travis Cleveland

Return to table of contents