Funky Dissected Leaves on Weeping Eur Beech?

I have had a lot of questions about strange shapes of leaves on weeping European beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’) this week from landscapers, arborists, garden centres and field production nursery growers.

What we are seeing is slight chlorosis (yellowing) and greatly dissected leaf margins at the tips of the leaves.

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Now, we can’t say for certain what is causing this but some of my colleagues and I believe it is perhaps a type of winter injury.  Perhaps the leaves were damaged by the low temperatures when they were still tightly held in the buds.  All of these trees have some level of bud kill, as you can see by the photos.

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In my experience, when we see strange phenomenon happen across large geographic areas so suddenly, it can often be associated with some sort of extreme environmental conditions.  It’s just a theory.  But a lot of trees are showing slightly chlorotic, stunted, mishapen leaves this spring, especially the exotic species.

What do you think?

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