Fairytale white bark, dripping green foliage… Birch trees are beautiful and provide shade during the hot summer months, but they can be very sensitive to their environment. If they’re not taken care of, or if they’re subjected to pests or harsh conditions, they can quickly sicken and die. But how can you identify the warning signs – do you know how to save a dying birch tree?
We do. Here’s a quick guide on how to save a dying birch tree. Detect, treat, and prevent birch tree death, plus learn a few tips to keep your trees healthy and resilient!
Signs Your Tree is Failing to Thrive
Defoliation and Yellowing or Browning of Foliage
A common sign that a birch tree is unhealthy is when its foliage starts to die off or change color. If you notice that your birch tree’s leaves are yellowing, browning, or falling off prematurely, it’s important to take action immediately. This is usually a sign of pests or disease – both of which can quickly kill a birch tree if left unchecked.
Bark Discoloration and Dark Patches
When bark starts to discolor or develop soft, tarry, or dark patches, it can be a sign of disease, pests, or even physical damage to the tree. If you notice any changes in the color or texture of your birch tree’s bark, it’s important to have a professional take a look as soon as possible.
Leaf Spots, Blotches, and Blisters
Leaf spots, blotches, and blisters on birch trees can be caused by a variety of fungal diseases. If you notice any of these symptoms on your tree’s leaves, it’s important to act quickly. Fungal diseases can spread rapidly and kill a birch tree if left untreated.
Split Branches or Dead Branches
Dieback and canker diseases from various pathogens attack the bark and cambium layers of birch trees. Diseased tissue widens and kills living tissue underneath the bark. Knotty growths form on bark and girdle stems, or the bark may split, revealing dead wood underneath.
Here are a few things you can do to save a sick or dying birch tree:
Identify if Pests are the Culprit
Birch trees are particularly susceptible to attack from borers, aphids, and mites. The adult Bronze Birch borer is yellowish brown with coppery wings, with white and elongated larvae. These pests eat away at the insides of the tree, blocking the food and water supply and creating a maze of damage. Treatment for borers is best done early – otherwise the tree cannot be saved. As soon as you notice dieback or identify pests, treat the tree with insecticide.
Prune Away the Diseased Branches
If your tree is suffering from a fungal disease, you’ll need to prune away the affected branches. This will help stop the spread of the disease and give your tree a chance to focus its energy on healing. Be sure to sterilize your pruning tools before and after use to prevent the spread of disease to other trees.
Related Reading: Birch Tree Roots Removal: When and How to Cut Them
Opt for a Professional Diagnosis
If you’re not sure what’s wrong with your tree or how to treat it, your best bet is to call in a professional tree care company with certified arborists. They will be able to quickly diagnose the problem and provide you with the best course of treatment.
How to save a dying birch tree? – Prevention
Water and Fertilize Regularly
Birch trees are not drought-friendly. They need a lot of water, especially when they’re young. Make sure to water them regularly (about once a week), and fertilize them yearly in the spring. This will help them to stay healthy and resist pests and disease.
Mulch the Roots
Mulching the roots of your birch tree will help it to retain moisture and resist temperature extremes. It’s important to use an organic mulch, like wood chips or shredded bark, and to keep it away from the trunk of the tree.
Plant Low-Growing Plants Around the Base
If you live in an area with hot summers, planting low-growing plants around the base of your birch tree will help to keep the roots shaded and cool. This will help the tree to resist stress and disease. By following these tips, you’ll know how to save a dying birch tree. If you think your tree is beyond help, it’s important to remove it before it has a chance to spread disease to other trees. Call in a professional tree removal company to safely and quickly remove the problem tree.