birch tree losing leaves - Knowledgebase Question

arlington hts, Il
Avatar for nabci
Question by nabci
July 20, 2010
I have a river bark birch that is dropping its leaves, a ton of leaves. These leaves are yellow with tiny brown spots. I was thinking it could be borers, but the top of the tree, the canopy, is still healthy. Any suggestions for treatment? Thanks for your help - Bill

Answer from NGA
July 20, 2010
River Birch trees need an evenly moist soil while becoming established (the first three years or so). Once established, it becomes more tolerant of average and dry soil. Drought or dry soil while it is building its root system would cause stress and consequently 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 need to spray with a fungicide. Or, you might want to consult with your county extension and or professionally trained nursery personnel 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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