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I have lived in my house for 17 years and have spent a fair bit on trying to grow new trees in my garden. I live on a site that is south west facing and slopes away from my house. I have bought a number of trees including Robinia and Betula. They seem to be OK for a few years and start to grow, but within 5 years they are dead. The Robinia seemed to die from the top down - the first year it went into decline it died off at the top, with the rest following suit the following season. I had a cluster of three Betula that also went one year after the other. In the area I am planting the soil is slightly chalky and shrubs like Cornus are fine and have survived......I have a Salix on the edge of my garden that has hung in there - but it isn't thriving, although it has survived for about 12 years!! I would like to try and put some young trees in again - but I wonder if I am just wasting my money if there is something in the soil that is killing them off...? Any thoughts on this would be really appreciated. Thanks
Just a wild guess, but you could check for honey fungus.Some info here - http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=180
My Robinia also died but I think there has been a problem with these trees all over the country as many succumbed to a disease. My friend lost her 30 yr old tree and I've seen others that have been removed too. Sad as they are lovely trees.
Not sure about the others although it may be worth checking your soil type as could be an issue if it's very alkaline. I have to be careful what I plant as certain things just hate the high PH in my garden.