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in Problem solving
I wonder if it might not be age, 70 is quite mature for a silver birch. They're not usually bothered by wet, as their roots are fairly shallow and I've seen them growing happily at the edges of marshes.
It's unusual to have such a bad infestation on a birch, but I guess it's an unusual year.
Good luck - if the aphids are shed with the leaves, it should certainly help.
Hi I have exactly the same problem with my silver birches and live in the Edinburgh area. I have noticed new leaves appearing very slowly too but the most affected tree is losing it's leaves with the slightest breeze. Glad to hear it's probably aphids. Did you try the hosing down thing?