Diseases And Insects That Strike Gray Birch Trees – And How A Tree Service Can Help

Gray birches are tall, narrow trees with distinctive ashy bark and glossy green leaves that turn into a beautiful yellow display in the fall. Gray birches can grow and thrive in a wide variety of soils and thus are great ornamental trees for yards with poorer soil types.

If you choose a gray birch tree for your yard, regular maintenance and treating any potential problems immediately can help keep your tree looking beautiful for longer.

Canker Disease

Canker disease is a mostly cosmetic problem that strikes branches that have experienced prior damage. The key symptom is oval-shaped sores or scars in the wood, which will have a reddened exterior and a dark interior that might smell odd. The best sign that your tree has canker is if these sores are only appearing around damaged areas of bark.

Your tree service can treat canker disease by cutting off already affected branches to remove the vulnerable parts of the tree. Try to protect the tree from future damage as best possible by using careful pruning techniques. Call in a tree service immediately if the tree is damaged in a storm.


Chlorosis can present like a tree disease with the leaves turning prematurely yellow. While fungi and bacteria typically cause tree diseases, chlorosis stems from problems in the surrounding soil. Potential issues include excess acid, poor drainage, or soil that's too dense and essentially suffocating the roots.

Call in a tree service in the early stages so that the soil conditions can be fixed before chlorosis reaches a severe stage. Soil testing can help your service determine the best course of treatment going forward.

If chlorosis has become severe, the tree might have suffered irreparable damage due to photosynthesis starvation. Your tree service might recommend removing the entire tree including the stump and roots. After the soil has been treated, you can consider planting another tree in the location.

Birch Leaf Miners

Gray birch trees typically have a natural resistance to the bronze borer, which is a beetle that affects most other types of birch trees. But gray birches still face a potential insect foe in the birch leaf miner.

Miners cause noticeable bite damage to the leaves but can also disrupt photosynthesis, which causes the leaves to prematurely whither and fall off. If you see signs of bite damage, call in a tree or pest control service for testing and the appropriate application of insecticide.

Make sure you hire a tree company to treat the miner infestation. Miner damage can make even less susceptible trees vulnerable to bronze borer infestations. Bronze borers can actually prove fatal to the tree and will require you to call a tree and tree stump removal company to full remove the birch. To improve your trees, contact a business such as Dubois Tree & Land Management LLC.