Diseases And Insects That Strike Black Birch Trees – And How To Prevent Further Damage

Black birch trees are typically found in the Appalachian area of the United States. The trees are tall and narrow with hard, dark bark and glossy green leaves that turn bright yellow in autumn. A distinctive feature of black birch is the strong wintergreen scent the branches give off when broken. All in all, a black birch can add a beautiful and fragrant touch to your home's landscaping.

All trees are vulnerable to tree diseases and insect infestations. Knowing what to look for can help keep your black birch tree thriving for years to come. Here are a few of the common culprits – and how to prevent further damage.

Canker Disease

Canker disease is typically easy to identify because the symptomatic sores resemble the cankers found in the human mouth. The sores are cylindrical with inflamed edges and a darker center, which can ooze or smell sour. The cankers will only appear on a branch that has suffered cracks or cuts due to improper pruning or storm damage.

The easiest way to keep canker at bay is to hire a tree trimming company to conduct regular pruning on your black birch tree. Trimming away damaged branches as soon as the damage occurs will eliminate spots vulnerable to canker disease.

Root Rot

Canker disease is largely cosmetic and easily cured. Root rot is potentially fatal and will likely require the removal of your black birch tree.

Root rot occurs due to a fungal infection in the soil around your tree, which begins to weaken the tree's roots long before you know there is a problem. Above ground symptoms will include the leaves becoming brown around the edges and then yellowing prematurely. If you are able to see or partially dig up the upper roots, check for signs of blackening and dryness.

Early stage root rot might be treated with fungicides. Call in a tree service to test the soil and identify the type of fungus causing the rot so that the appropriate fungicide can be used. Later stage root rot, which has likely completely killed the roots, will require tree removal.

Bronze Birch Borer

Bronze birch borers are small, dark brown beetles that can affect a black birch tree. A bronze birch borer infestation causes most of its problems when the insects are in the larvae stage. The larvae can suck up the nutrients meant for the leaves and bark. The nutrient deprivation can cause the branches and leaves to die back, or wither, from the top of the tree downward. Adult borers will simply eat holes in the leaves, which is mostly a cosmetic issue.

Call a tree or pest control service as soon as you suspect a bronze birch borer infestation. Insecticide treatment can save your tree if significant dieback hasn't already happened. Once the dieback has occurred, there isn't much that can be done to save the tree and you might need to call a tree removal service.  

For more information, consider contacting a professional, like those at Souliere & Son Tree SpeclSts.