Mid-summer yellowing of leaves on gray birch: a real bad sign?

slowgardenJuly 29, 2011

We're coming out of a heat wave here. Nothing really major AFAIAC, but I lacked time to weed thoroughly the base of our birch and water it, until just a day or so ago... I am fearing now maybe too late, because it didn't seem to stop it from shedding yellow leaves... Maybe 5 to 8% gone now. This tree was planted 10 years ago, at about 2-3 years of age I guess. It has been thriving fantastically and beautifully ever since, with zero care save for some weeding and minimal mulching. I see in books that this species has a short lifespan. Do you think it is time yet to think about a replacement? Here, spring has been very rainy this year, but summer so far is too dry...

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Dan Staley

Birches need lots of water. Maybe it will make it if you give it what it needs.

Dan

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 5:44PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Various of my trees shed leaves all during the growing season with some turning yellow before dropping. It is normal, especially if the leaves come from someplace on the tree where they get very little or no sunlight. Unless it is a fairly large amount it most likely is not anything to be concerned about.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 7:11AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Dan is right, birch need water and don't do well in extended dry periods....which means they thrive here where cool moist soil is the rule, but that doesn't help you :)

Start watering deeply once a week until you've had some rainfall if this tree is important to you. 12 or 13 years is exceptionally short lived for any tree including birch, it hasn't reached its natural lifespan.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 5:10PM
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slowgarden

Thanks to all for your help! Sorry that I could not follow your replies more vigilantly. I actually had time to do what Dan suggested. Then covered the weeded zone at the tree's base with its own shedded leaves. ...Then luckily a major shower came along. ...Then the yellowing stopped almost instantly! We love this tree so much; starts to shade the house from the S-W sun, and is a winter haven for redpolls! Many thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 11:20AM
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