The Q&A Archives: Leaves on Birch

Question: It's early July and the leaves on my Birch tree are turning yellow and dropping. Isn't it kind of early for that? I live in The Chgo. suburbs area. It is 5 years old and has sun all day.

Answer: Drought or dry soil can stress the root system cause it to drop leaves. You might want to check the soil and see if it is moist or if you need to water. Dig down a few inches with your finger, checking both the original root area and the surrounding soil. When you water, water deeply and slowly, wait a few hours, then dig down and check to see how effective your watering was. You might also use several inches of organic mulch over the root area but not allowing it to touch the trunk. Examine the leaves carefully to see if there are any spots or other irregularities besides the yellowing. If so, you may want to consult with your county extension to see if you can get a precise identification of the problem. Finally, yellowing could also be a response to overfertilizing, accidental chemical overspray, nearby use of lawn chemicals or herbicides, or some other outside factor. Good luck with your tree.

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