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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?
We are having a similar problem in Northern Ireland. Our silver birch looks like only about 2/3 of the canopy has formed. Leaves are spotted and dropping as we speak. we noticed this for the past 2 years and tried to ignore it and stick our heads in the sand! Tree is approx 30 years old and the centre piece of our garden! I'm feeling your pain????
Hi. I'm in the Southern hemisphere-South Africa to be precise. We've had an unseasonably wet summer this year. All my Silver birches are losing their leaves and fall is still a month and a week away! Will they survive the artificial "longer" winter without most of their leaves having already fallen? Can I give the trees some or other fertlizer to make them recover? The biggest of them has already started making new leaves at eye level, but the crown is almost bare.
My one and only Betula pendula 'dalecarlica' which I imported in the 80's and that had been standing in a huge pot as an overgrown bonsai, was planted out onto the lawn last summer. It produced its first crop of catkins and I managed to collect 18(although I read they're sterile).Yet it now has less than a quarter of its leaves left. The tree is pushing new buds on the main trunk. Should I drastically prune the tree back, hoping to force those new buds to develop into leaves and maybe even branches?
HELP PLEEAASE!!!!! I cannot afford to lose this 18 year old beauty!
Duncan - are you sure they aren't Prunus serrula? They have copper bark and are sometimes called the Birch Bark Cherry.
I have had birches lose their leaves in summer due to drought, get some more when it rains and then drop those. Something similar might happen to yours.
I wouldn't do anything. Birches are beautiful until you start cutting them back, then they lose all their grace and become lumps.
As to fertilizer, don't force feed a sick patient.
If you can take a pic and put it onto a thread here that will help ID it Duncan.
I've never heard of a copper Birch either so I'd guess it's the Prunus, but a photo will help confirm it for you
You should have a little tree icon at the right hand side of the toolbar at the top of the window you post in. Just click on it and follow the instructions
18 months on and my Lady of the Woods has (all by herself!) made a majestic recovery from the Marssonina betulae which she fell prey to during the dreadfully wet summer of 2012. All the new shoots she formed in late summer, immediately after the leaf drop, have contributed to something like 90% leaf cover this year, all spotlessly clean, and she is looking very healthy - and SO beautiful!!
Incidentally ... to my knowledge there IS such a thing as copper birch. The weeping variety is particularly beautiful - I only wish I could have found space for it in my garden!
Lots of googling reveals that there is a Copper River birch - betula nigra.
or black birch