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3 Signs Your River Birch Tree Is in Distress

Birch Tree
Trees enhance your home's curb appeal, and they can also increase your home's value. Certain trees can also add shade that aids in energy-efficiency by creating a layer of insulation between your home's interior and the outdoors.
The river birch is one tree that can add a great deal of appeal, value, and shade to your home because it grows fast and grows tall. You can expect the tree to grow up to 90 feet tall. Of course, as with any tree, certain diseases and infections can take control that requiring efficient and effective treatment. If your river birch is showing one or more of these signs, it is time to consult the professionals because your tree is in distress.
1. Spotty Leaves
If you notice small spots on the tree's leaves that are tan, brown, or even black in color, the tree is most likely infected with leaf spot disease. Although leaf spot disease is mostly caused by a fungus, some bacteria and insects have been known to cause the infection, as well. The spots may be circular in shape, or they can grow large enough to create clusters across the leaves of your river birch tree.
Without treatment, the leaves will yellow and eventually drop. This early defoliation can kill young trees, but most mature river birches can survive leaf spot disease.
Trimming off all limbs that are infected with leaf spot is beneficial for stopping the fungal disease from spreading. For severe infections, consider spraying the infected leaves in the early spring before the fungus spreads further through the tree.
Prevention is your best weapon against leaf spot disease. Overwatering can lead to fungal growth, which may cause the leaf spot disease, so you shouldn’t overwater to prevent the disease. Also, prune your River Birch regularly to increase the airflow through your tree.
2. Sooty Residue
Sooty mold is another common disease that may infect your river birch tree. Like the name suggests, the disease's main symptom is a black, sooty residue that grows on the tree's limbs, branches, and leaves.
While surprising to learn, insects are the primary cause of sooty mold.
Aphids, scales, and other common pests that infest trees secrete honeydew onto various parts of your tree. Mold feeds on the honeydew and build up a sooty residue as it grows and spreads across the tree.
As it spreads, the mold reduces the amount of light your river birch receives. Without sufficient light, the tree will struggle to grow and survive.
To cure your tree of sooty mold, you need to treat and control the insects that secrete honeydew. Pruning infected areas of the tree is key. Insecticide or neem oil is also effective for killing and repelling pests.
3. Discoloration
Most leaves will turn yellow and brown in color during the fall season. But discoloration of the leaves on a tree infected by root rot disease can occur during any season. The leaves may also drop before the fall season.
Discoloration may also be seen in the wood of your river birch tree. Branches and limbs may turn to a dark brown color. The lower part of the tree trunk may also appear a dark, reddish brown color. If you scrape away a layer of bark on the trunk or branches, you may notice white fungal growth, as well.
Another sign of root rot disease is the growth of mushrooms around the base of the tree. Caused by fungal growth that starts in the root, root rot disease spreads from the bottom up through the entire tree.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for root rot disease. Removing the tree is essential to prevent the fungal growth from spreading through the root system into other plants and trees in your landscape.
With proper understanding and care, your river birch can be a great addition to your landscape design. For more information on tree care, contact County Tree Service today.