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Weeping Birch Tree Disease and Pests

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The weeping birch tree is a variety of the European white birch. The white birch is a member of the Betulaceae family of birch; these are often used as ornamental trees in gardens.

Description

The average life expectancy of a healthy weeping birch tree is between 40 and 50 years. Unfortunately, it is common for trees planted for ornamental purposes to die after less than 20 years.

Fungi

Some of the most common diseases affecting trees in the birch family are fungal, such as rust and leaf spot. These diseases thrive in moist conditions where rain splashes the tree and leaves are left around the base of the trunk.

Pests

The weeping birch tree is commonly affected by two pests, the birch leafminer and the bronze birch borer.

Leafminer

The birch leafminer is a term covering a variety of larvae laid in the leaves of a birch tree; the term covers insects such as the moth and the beetle. The leafminer is not usually a deadly infestation.

Bronze Birch Borer

The bronze birch borer is a beetle that commonly attacks weak trees that have been infected by leafminers. The symptoms of the birch borer are usually sparse foliage followed by the death of twigs and branches.

Weeping Birch Tree Disease & Pests

Aphids and scale insects have sucking, piercing mouthparts that they insert like a straw into the juicy inner portion of weeping birch tree foliage and stems. They cause distortion of the weeping birch tree's leaves and some species of aphid transmit viruses. Scrape egg masses off the bark into a container of soapy water to kill them. Beneficial predatory insects will usually control the infestation. Adult bronze birch borer beetles are about 1/2 inch long and have a metallic, greenish-bronze color. Borers generally attack wounded or stressed trees. Prune affected branches in the fall or winter and remove plant debris. Follow label instructions carefully. These infections can damage leaves and stems, causing wet-looking, sunken lesions. Rust, as the name implies, causes reddish spots on the birch tree's foliage that look as if the leaf is rusting. Contact your local cooperative extension service office for information on obtaining a diagnosis and treatment recommendations to save your tree. Disinfect all pruning tools between cuts.

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