- Why Is My Birch Tree Dropping Leaves?
- When Does a Birch Tree Shed Its Seeds?
- How Fast Will a Whitespire Birch Tree Grow?
- How to Prune Silver Birch Trees
- Silver Birch Tree Facts
- How to Plant a River Birch Tree
- How Long Will it Take for a Birch Tree to Dry After Being Cut Down?
- How to Grow White Birch Trees
- Jacquemonti Birch Tree Growth Rate
- Do Deer Like to Eat River Birch Trees?
- Where Are Birch Trees Found in the World?
- Where Do Paper Birch Trees Grow?
- How to Peel Birch Bark
Birch trees are medium-sized trees valued for their easy growth and white bark. Birch leaf drop is a symptom of two major problems, the bronze birch borer or anthracnose fungus. Prevention and early control are vital for reducing tree injury.
The bronze birch borer is a small beetle that measures 3/8-inch long that infests wood under the bark of birch, reports the University of Minnesota. The beetle and larvae feed on birch tissue, which causes tree girdling at the spot of infestation. Anthracnose is a serious fungal disease that causes leaf drop. The fungus favors free moisture and warm weather conditions for development.
Symptoms of a bronze birch borer infection consist of premature leaf yellowing, branch dieback, white larvae under bark, leaf drop and tree death. Anthracnose infections on birch produce brown, irregular shaped spots on leaves during the initial stages of infection. Branch dieback, leaf drop, reduced tree vigor and girdling are common symptoms, reports Virginia Tech.
Prevent the bronze birch borer by improving tree vigor through fertilization, regular watering, pruning and reducing tree stress. Insecticides are an effective method of control for severe infestations. Perennial anthracnose infections can cause substantial harm to birch. Preventative fungicidal sprays are effective for preventing and controlling the severity of infection.
The birch tree sheds its seeds during the late spring to early autumn months, depending on the species. Birch trees produce large quantities of seed. For example, the River birch (Betula nigra L.) yields approximately 375,000 seeds per lb., according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Whitespire birch trees (Betula platyphylla japonica 'Whitespire') are deciduous trees with an annual growth rate of 12 to 18 inches. They grow up to 40 feet tall and 25 feet wide.
Prune the birch tree in early spring to avoid damaging the tree once it's begun to bud or produce leaves.
Examine all of the branches for signs of insect damage. Birch borers are problematic insects; they leave holes in the branches and can weaken or kill the tree. Cut off any branches that show signs of insect damage.
Check the tree for dead or dying branches and cut them off at the base to avoid spreading rot to the rest of the tree.
Look for branches that threaten to unbalance the tree due to excessive size. Remove branches that interfere with the balance or appearance of the silver birch tree.
A Silver birch can grow to be as tall as 80 feet. It experiences rapid growth during the first 20 years and matures by the time it is 40 years old.
The Silver birch garners its name from the fact that as it matures the bark turns a silvery gray. Young trees have almost pinkish bark. By the time the tree is old, its bark has darkened considerably and taken on a rough and fissured appearance.
The leaves of the Silver birch are diamond-shaped, and they have toothed edges. They grow on thin stems that cause them to flutter in even a very light breeze.
Silver birch flowers appear in April and May before developing into fruit by late June. The fruit ripens in September and goes to seed while the leaves fall off after turning yellow, typically in November.
When treated, Silver birch wood makes good fence posts. Its twigs were often a component in kitchen whisks and brooms. In spring, some people tap the tree and use its sap as an ingredient in a dry wine.
Choose a sunny location. River birch prefers rich, moist, acidic soil, but will not tolerate constant wet feet. It is heat-tolerant and can survive modest droughts.
Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and as deep as the container. Mix some organic material--peat moss, leaf mold, manure or compost--into the soil that has been removed. The ratio should be 1/3 organic matter to 2/3 soil.
Remove the plant from its container. If the roots are a dense mass, score the root ball deeply in three places with a pruning saw--this will help prevent girdling. Prune any visibly damaged roots.
If the plant is balled and burlapped, place the tree in the hole before removing the wrapping. Remove as much of the wrapping as you can, and remove all of the string. What is left of the burlap will disintegrate over time.
Fill in around roots with the mix. When you have filled in the hole halfway, fill it with water. As the water drains, it will settle the planting mix around the roots. Continue filling in the hole and water again.
Water every day for the first two weeks, then weekly for the first year while the tree is actively growing. Once established, river birch will be more tolerant of dry conditions.
A birch tree will take up to nine months to dry after being cut down and into pieces. The seasoning process can be sped up if the birch wood is split. Pieces of wood with bark on them do not loose water content very quickly. The more debarked surfaces on a piece of birch wood, the less time it takes to dry.
Dig a hole twice the size of the width of the white birch tree root ball. For example, if the root ball is 3 inches wide, dig a hole 6 inches deep. Make certain the soil pH level range is between 5 and 6, indicating acidic soil, with a soil pH test kit.
Remove the white birch tree from the growing container or remove the root ball covering. Place the tree on its side on the ground. Squeeze the root ball gently in small sections to loosen the roots and dirt.
Pick the tree up by the base of the trunk closest to the root ball. Stand the tree in the hole.
Fill the hole with all-purpose potting soil and lightly tap with the shovel.
Place a 4-inch layer of shredded bark compost around the base of the white birch tree out to the drip line. Keep the mulch away from the trunk of the tree.
Water the white birch with 1 to 3 inches of water.
The Jacquemonti birch (Betula jacquemontii), also called the whitebarked Himalayan birch, grows about 12 inches per year. Birch trees generally take 40 years to mature, and this species grows 40 feet tall.
River birch trees (Betula nigra) are native to the southeastern United States, where white-tailed deer frequently browse on the leaves and small twigs, and rabbits eat the seedlings (small trees).
Birch trees have a large geographic distribution throughout Europe and Asia Minor. Types such as the silver birch and the downy birch have very large ranges--the downy birch even grows in Iceland as a native species. The European white birch grows as far south as Italy and as far north as the Arctic Circle.
Many types of birches grow throughout eastern sections of Asia. Species that include the Chinese paper birch, Japanese cherry birch, Erman birch, Asian white birch, dwarf birch and Schmidt birch grow in nations such as China, Korea, Japan and Manchuria.
Only the river birch has a range that extends into the Deep South in the United States. All of the rest of the North American birches grow in the northern portion of the continent or in areas that feature mountains where the climate is cool or cold. For example, the water birch grows extensively throughout the Rocky Mountain States.
The geographic distribution of the paper birch from east to west is the largest of the American birch trees. Paper birch grows from New England and eastern Canada west to Alaska, with much of Canada within its range. The tree also grows through the Great Lakes, into the Rocky Mountains and in parts of the Pacific Northwest.
This tree will survive in gravelly soil, notes the University of Connecticut Plant Database, as well as in sandy areas. The best soil conditions for the paper birch are those that have adequate drainage, are somewhat acidic and have a composition of sandy loam. Temperature-wise, the paper birch does best where summers are cool (maximum temperatures around 75 degrees Fahrenheit) and in regions where winter snows cover the roots.
The ideal growing spot for the paper birch is one that offers partial shade. Sites that possess an eastern or a northern exposure that go through a period of shade during the afternoon are best for the paper birch, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Use a chain saw to cut down the birch tree. Be sure to retreat a safe distance before the tree begins to fall.
Use a measuring tape to measure 6 inches from each end of the fallen birch tree. Use a permanent marker to mark the measurement. Cut along the measurements with the chainsaw to remove the ends of the tree.
Position a machete on one end of the birch tree along the top center. Push the machete in so it penetrates the bark by 1/2 inch to 1 inch. Move the machete back and forth so the cut extends across the full length of birch tree.
Position an axe blade at a 20-degree angle at the edge of the cut. Push the axe into the cut. Tap on the back of the axe blade with a mallet or hammer. Pull out the axe to free it from the wood. Position it directly beneath the previous axe cut. Tap the axe again with the mallet or hammer. Continue repeating this step until you reach the opposite end of the tree.
Move back to the other end of the tree. Take hold of the edge of the birch tree bark, which should be slightly separated from the tree. Lift up and back to peel off the park. Continue to peel until the bark is removed. Roll the birch tree slightly to one side in order to reach the part of the tree resting against the ground.