(CBS DETROIT) — Presence of invasive beech leaf disease has been confirmed in St. Clair County, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development.

Officials say the disease can impact leaf tissue on American, European and Asian beech species. The state of Michigan has about 37 million American beech trees.

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Aborted leaf buds and curling can be symptoms of beech leaf disease. (courtesy: Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

Landowners reported a possible outbreak in the county through the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network. Testing was completed by the Michigan State University Forest Pathology Lab. The disease was confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

“Though beech leaf disease was detected this spring, the condition of the leaves and number of trees affected at this location suggest the disease has been there for more than a year,” Simeon Wright, DNR forest health specialist, said in a press release. “Because symptoms are slow to emerge, it is difficult to detect the disease before it is established.”

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Officials say a total of nine states, which now includes Michigan, have confirmed cases. It was first detected in Ohio.

The disease can create darkened, thick tissue bands that can be seen by looking upward at trees on a sunny day. Damaged leaves can weaken trees, causing them to die within six to 10 years after initial symptoms.

Noticeable leaf loss may occur in early summer on heavily impacted trees.

How to help:

DNR and MDARD encourage monitoring for any signs of the disease. If you suspect you have found a symptomatic tree, take one or more photos of the infested tree, including close-ups of affected leaves; note the location, date and time; and report it in one of the following ways:

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