I have about a dozen birch trees along my drive in Jamestown RI. About half of them are dropping leaves as if it were late fall and I notice that the leaves have black spots on them. What can I do to save these beautiful trees?
Tony, I am having the same issue in Minnesota. I do not see the black spots you spoke of. Did you get any answer to your problem?
There can be many reasons birch trees drop their leaves. Birch leaf miners are tiny larva that tunnel inside the leaves, leaving brown blothes. They can be seen by holding a leaf up to light. When the leaves are severely affected they may drop from the tree. This pest doesn;t usually cause the death of a tree.
Bronze birch borer is another pest, although much more serious. The larva of this insect tunnel beneath the bark, effectively killing the bark above it. If they destroy enough bark around a branch or trunk the leaves will start to drop, and the tree may experience twig and branch dieback. When severe enough, they can kill a tree.
There are many other reasons for leaf drop, including drought, cold weather, flooding, heat, root damage and others. The best alternative is to find a local ISA Certified Arborist to inspect the tree on-site. You can find a Certified Arborist at International Society of Arboriculture web site. Follow the links to Find a Certified Arborist.
Russ Carlson, RCA, BCMA
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