University of Maryland Extension: Garden Q&A
A: We are getting many panicked calls and e-mails about American beech trees raining leaves. The disease is anthracnose, a fungal disease that begins with brown spots and blotches on leaves, followed by yellowing and leaf drop.
This is a very specialized disease, and many trees such as sycamore, dogwood and oak get their own variety of anthracnose. Beech rarely gets anthracnose, but this spring’s weather conditions created the “perfect storm” of conditions that it loves.
It should not kill your tree, because healthy trees can tolerate one season of partial defoliation and many can put out a new flush of foliage.
You can rake up the leaves to remove infected material from the site. It is generally not economical to spray large mature shade trees for anthracnose nor is it effective once symptoms appear because fungicides can’t cure, only prevent, disease.
Next spring, only young trees or newly planted trees could use a fungicide spray to prevent excessive leaf loss until they become established.
Our website’s Plant Diagnostic has identification and control help.
Q: Would leftover bait worms be good in my compost pile?
A: No, please! No fishing bait of any kind, including crawfish, fish, or worms should be dumped anywhere into the environment.
Many of these non-native live baits have already established in Maryland ecosystems where they kill, infect, and outcompete our native marine life.
Even dead bait can introduce disease to a body of water. Although it may seem helpful to dump excess bait to feed fish or enrich the environment, instead it can be destructive.
Share your extra bait with another fisherman or save it for another trip. You can kill it by freezing it; then put it out with the trash. Never introduce any organisms from one body of water into another one.