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Wilting Birch Tree


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#1 Guest_<Brenda>_*

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 08:48 PM

We have two birch trees that were planted at the same time (same size) about 8 years ago (they're about 30' apart).
They've grown considerably but in the last two years one of them seems to be lagging behind - almost wilting before our eyes (healthy one is about 20'w by 28'h; wilted one is about 18' w by 12' h).
We're not sure what's going on. Any ideas? Suggestions? I have photo's I can email.
Thanks so much for your help.
Brenda in Frankenmuth
jbgmuth1@aol.com
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#2 Guest_StevenNikkila_*

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Posted 28 July 2004 - 05:04 PM

There are a few things that can be affecting the growth. It's possible that the weaker birch (Betula) has the brozne birch borer in it. Is there any die back in the tree? If so look for D shaped exit holes on the limbs that have the dieback.

Ther could be water problems: How's the drainage in that area, 30 feet sounds close but maybe the water isn't draining fast enough. Is there sufficent water getting to the weaker plant, perhaps it may not be getting enough water

Was the burlap and cage left on the plants when planted? There maybe a girdling root involved with the weaker plant.

Are the wilted leaves turning brown first or still green when wilting?

, Senior Instructor, The Michigan School of Gardening
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#3 Guest_<Brenda>_*

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 07:57 PM

,
Thanks for the info. The leaves are wilting while they are still green. Also, appears that there are exit holes in the limbs. Yikes - sounds like Bronze Birch Borer. What can we do? Can the trees be saved? Help!!!!
Brenda in Frankenmuth
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#4 Guest_StevenNikkila_*

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 12:54 PM

In my opinion a white birch is a 20 year plant (at most) and then it is done because of the borer. Then I would remove the old and plant another if it provides the look you want. My suggestion to you is evaluate how much of the tree is damaged. If over 30% it is probably beyond saving. You can prune out the dead and infested limbs and let the plant run it's course. You could also prune and start a treatment program every April, but the cost may be high. Consult a certified arborist for details.

We let things run their course with our birch because we loved the white bark. Our plant died at about 15 years old and 20 feet tall. We grew a fall clematis up it for 4 more years. After that time we removed the dead trunk and planted something else.

, Senior Instructor, The Michigan School of Gardening
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#5 Guest_<val>_*

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 07:58 AM

One birch tree had no leaves on top branches this year. Early questions at a local nursery suggested it may have been due to that nasty frost that killed the leaf buds.
Now more leaves seem to be turning brown on that tree and one about 20 feet away.
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#6 Guest_<Brenda>_*

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Posted 24 August 2004 - 12:43 PM

,
Many interesting suggestions from various sources. Would like your take on these . . .
1. Internet site states that it is useless to treat the birch trees that have birch bore any other time than the June time frame when females are laying eggs? True or False

2. Hortoculturist stopped by (via hired by Tru-Green or ChemLawn, can't remember which) and in his "professional opinion" it would take "serious care to get back into shape w/merit injection application done repeateldy throughout the seson with a full program of pest and disease sprays for birches along w/fertilization in spring and fall to give birches a boost.

who do I believe - or are both true? Or none of the above - yikes this is sooo confusing.

Thanks
Brenda
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#7 Guest_<Gaye>_*

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 08:29 PM

I have a white paperbark birch tree that was planted 5 years ago. It was attacked by the bronze birch borer about 3 years ago, killing one of the three trunks and infesting the other two. I used Bayer tree and shrub care (a soil drench product) each year since along with tree fertilizer spikes and I'm very happy to say that the two remaining trunks have recovered and look beautiful.
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#8 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 03:54 PM

How good of you to let us know about your tree's turn-wround, Gaye. Thanks - there's no better way for us to learn than by real experience.

Borers are not treatable during that time of the year (June - April) when they are larvae feeding in the cambium. So we treat to kill the adults at egg laying time and the eggs as they hatch (actually, insecct eggs "eclose" -- a good Scrabble word or trivia question). But! Weak trees are far more susceptible to borers than strong trees. The bark is literally stronger, more impervious, fewer cracks and places where the insects can penetrate. So any treatment of a far-gone birch has to involve protecting it from other pests, keeping it well watered and fertilizing it if the soil is poor. Since Merit is being used against all kinds of insects, the Merit application for borer in spring might be followed by other applications -- IF THERE IS EVIDENCE OF OTHER PEST PROBLEMS.

(Editorial aside -- Merit will be the next inscticide removed from the market for non-effectiveness because it's being used too much, too often.)

Birch is a fast growing tree and can make great comebacks if given a chance. But when there is extensive borer damage you will lose limbs and even trunks and may have to do some serious pruning to remove deadwood and train the new leaders that develop.

, Senior Instructor, The Michigan School of Gardening.
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