Ask a Question forum: Heritage Birch not doing well

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Northern Illinois
x_diver
May 26, 2018 7:56 PM CST
We bought two Heritage Birch trees last August. They were about 17 feet tall and were covered with leaves. We planted them in the back of our yard which is where all of the water flows to. We live in the northern suburbs of Chicago. The trees did very well.

This spring, the top branches developed leaves. But many of the lower branches did not. We're very disappointed as the tree looks very bare at the bottom. Will these lower branches ever develop leaves?
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Name: Bill
Livonia MI (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
May 27, 2018 3:43 AM CST
It sounds to me that it could be winter damage. Buying and planting them in August might not have provided enough time to get adjusted and ready for winter. However if this was the case positively, I would suspect you would have less leaves up top as well.
Therefore perhaps the lower branches are losing leaves due to a water shortage. If the branches are dead, they will not leaf out again but if you scrape your fingernail along the twig and find "green" underneath, the branch is still alive. If lower twigs are alive, good watering and some fertilizer might get it to produce some leaves before summers end.
By planting them "where all the water flows to" does not mean that they were watered properly.
In the future for a zone as far north as we are, I would do tree planting's in late March through mid May. A newly transplanted tree or shrub has a hard time dealing with the cold drying winds of winter. Planting them earlier gives them a greater time to adjust and suffer less damage.
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[Last edited by BigBill - May 27, 2018 3:45 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 27, 2018 5:12 AM CST
Welcome!

Seventeen feet sounds rather big for a DIY planting, or did you have a tree service plant them? Were they in containers, or balled and burlapped, or bare-root, or...?

Can you show us a picture of the base of the trees where the trunk meets the ground please.
Northern Illinois
x_diver
May 28, 2018 1:25 PM CST
sooby said: Welcome!

Seventeen feet sounds rather big for a DIY planting, or did you have a tree service plant them? Were they in containers, or balled and burlapped, or bare-root, or...?

Can you show us a picture of the base of the trees where the trunk meets the ground please.


Had a landscaper plant it. They were in big plastic containers. This is the base of one of the trees.

The lower branches with no leaves are not green on the inside. Will more branches ever form on this area from the trunk? Or is that it?


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