What Is a Birch Tree?

Overview

The birch tree is a common tree found throughout the world. Many find the birch tree to be aesthetically appealing and thus use the birch tree for homes and city beautification. The birch tree is mostly hardy and resistant as long as it is cared for, but there is one type of insect that has the ability to kill a birch tree.

History

The birch tree can be found all throughout Europe, Asia and America. Birch trees were commonly used as wood for the construction of canoes.

Identification

Birch trees usually grow 40 to 50 feet tall and normally have leaves that turn yellow in the fall. The bark has a variety of colors, including white mixed with cinnamon, white mixed with black, salmon-colored, white and peeling, brown, dark red-brown and yellow-orange.

Soil

Birch trees need very rich soil in order to thrive. The quality of the soil not only gives the birch trees all the nutrients they need, but also makes sure that the birch trees will be able to use the nutrients in the soil effectively. Healthier birch trees are more able to survive in urban environments, and they are also more able to withstand damage done by insects. The best soil for a birch tree is a well-drained sandy loam. Adding mycorrhizal fungi to the soil of a birch tree will also be extremely beneficial for this tree. The soil for a birch tree is preferably more acidic than alkaline.

Geography

Birch trees like locations that are very sunny and that give them plenty of access to water.

Leaf Miners

One of the pests that birch trees can be susceptible to is leaf miners. The susceptibility to these insects depends on the variety of the birch tree. The leaf miner bores into leaves in order to consume the nutrients found in the leaves. The birch tree is not killed by leaf borers, though the damage caused by the leaf borers can make the birch tree less attractive. Also, the damage can reduce the health of the birch tree. These leaf miners get on to the birch leaves when their eggs are laid on the leaves. The eggs hatch, releasing larva that enters into slits in the leaves. Insecticides work on leaf miners as long as the leaf miners have not yet penetrated the leaves.

Birch Borer

The birch borer is much more destructive to birch trees and can destroy them. These beetles lay eggs that hatch larva that penetrates the trunk of the birch tree, disrupting the flow of sap, which can put the life of the birch tree at risk. Pruning out dead branches, injecting the tree with insecticide and keeping the tree watered and fertilized will protect the tree from birch borers.

Keywords: birch borer, birch tree, birch tree pest

About this Author

Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer for two years. He has a B.S. in Literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written three ebooks so far: Karate You Can Teach Your Kids, Macadamia Growing Handout and The Raw Food Diet.