Gray Birch Trimming - Knowledgebase Question

Cedar Rapids, Io
Question by pennylane725
September 6, 2008
I have a very pretty Gray Birch in my front yard. This last winter we had a LOT of heavy snow and the branches were literally on the ground. Two branches broke and I need to trim them. Some of the other branches are bent down. The tree (double trunked) stands a good 30 feet tall at the highest point. I would like to save it but I would also like to get a little more width. What is the best way to trim the tree and should I be able to save it? It also got almost completely stripped this summer by japanese Beetles,it was disgusting.

Thank you,

Answer from NGA
September 6, 2008


The natural growth pattern of a gray birch is a tall, narrow habit with drooping juvenile branche. As the branches develop more bark, they will become more rigid and will hold themselves more upright. I would make clean cuts at the branch collar to remove the broken branches, and then prune individual branches to encourage a more dense growth habit. You can prune up to one-third of the growth without harving your tree. It's important to prune as late in the season as possible, so the tree won't ooze excessive amounts of sap. (Weeping sap attracts destructive insects.)

As for the Japanese beetles, they spend part of their time as grubs, under ground, nibbling grass roots and such. If you treat your lawn with a grub control product such a Milky Spore. Milky Spore is not a chemical pesticide and may be used in gardens, around pools and wells without problem. You can think of it as a deadly flu that attacks only larva.

Once applied to the turf according to the directions, spores are swallowed by grubs during their normal pattern of feeding; this starts the demise of healthy grubs.

Milky Spore then begins to cripple the grub, and within the next 7 ? 21 days will eventually die. As the grub decomposes, it releases billions of new spores into the soil which will remain for several years.

Milky Spore is not harmful to beneficial insects, birds, bees, pets or man. The product is approved and registered with EPA.

Hope this information is helpful!

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