Ornamentally, the peeling bark is very striking at a young age, exfoliating to reveal salmon-brown and white patches. The first symptom is the appearance of extremely small brown or black spots on the youngest leaves. Prompt sp… SPOTTY LEAVES. Pests No pests are of major concern. Leaf spot diseases weaken trees and shrubs by interrupting photosynthesis. Cylindrosporium and Septoria cause small spots with no borders and Colletotrichum causes larger brown spots with darker borders. River birch has fewer insect and disease problems than any other birch. Although it tends to be a medium-sized tree, one tree in Alabama has grown to 111 feet tall, with a diameter of more than 4 feet. Here is a link to a fact sheet on river birch, its diseases and pests. This is too big for the average yard, especially when you consider how close to the house lots of people mistakenly plant it. Back to Previous Page. Fungal diseases from various pathogens cause leaf spots, blotches and blisters on birch trees. Thanks! On young, trees, where it is more critical to maintain an adequate number of, healthy leaves, sprays of copper or sulfur fungicides during bud, break and leaf expansion can lessen disease severity. Anthracnose diseases, caused by Marssonina and Discula pathogens, form angular blotches instead of round spots. Not as bad as B. pendula; can get leaf miner, but not as badly as B. populifolia; not tolerant of harsh conditions or heat; bark can be slow to turn white for the impatient; River Birch … Leaf spots may be 1/8th to 3/8th inch brown spots to large brown blotches surrounded by yellow tissue (C. betularum) Leaf spots may be 1/8th inch wide brown rings with a light center surrounded by yellow tissue (D. betulina) Common in years with wet rainy spring weather More information on Birch … Healthy, well-established trees should not be seriously harmed by hot, dry weather. In most cases there is no need to spray trees to combat these leaf spots. Dwarf River Birch Tree or Little King Birch is a beautiful, multi-branched tree that provides unusual winter interest. "'Heritage' river birch is an excellent selection with superior vigor, larger leaves and greater resistance to leaf spot,” said Michael Dirr in “Trees.” River birch is known for its showy exfoliating bark all four seasons. Betula nigra (River Birch) is a bushy deciduous tree prized for its incredible peeling bark. River birch may be troubled by various fungal leaf spot diseases, resulting in early leaf drop during rainy summers. Watch for leaf spot problems. Practical. The standard, European White Birch that was commonly used decades ago, is now difficult to find. Although river birches have some susceptibility to aphids, leaf miner and iron chlorosis in high pH soils, these problems are somewhat minor in comparison to the birch borer. A dwarf Variety that will only reach heights of 10 feet. Leaf spot is unsightly, but not lethal to the tree. Most leaf spot diseases affect only a small percentage of the tree's overall leaf area, and are a minor stress on the health of the tree. Also, we had a wet and cool May which has caused a lot of fungal activity. If you notice small spots on the tree's leaves that are tan, brown, or even black … Blight causes black spots to appear, first on the young leaves and gradually spreading to more mature leaves, eventually causing the tree to lose almost half of its leaves throughout the summer. It should be pruned in summer because it bleeds if pruned in spring. Plants benefit with a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch and supplemental water in dry periods. An affliction to river birch trees (Betula nigra) growing in the landscape was noticed in Cheboygan and Emmet counties this summer. The Kentucky champion tree is in Johnson County and is 80 feet tall. Leaf diseases on birch in the landscape are usually, not severe enough to warrant chemical spray controls. Leaf Diseases. Begin with leaf blight, a fungal disease which causes summer leaf drop. In moist years, it may develop leaf spot which can defoliate the interior, older leaves of the tree. River birch seed ripens in May and June. Aphids, leaf miner and birch skeletonizer may occur. These trees can be grown either with a single trunk or multi-stemmed. It is superior in terms of disease resistance, as it is not plaqued as heavily by leaf spot or borers. Your help would be appreciated on what it is and what may be causing it. Click here, then click on your county either on the map or from the list of counties below it. River birches are attractive when planted in groups, especially against a dark background. Fall color can be a good yellow, and the habit is … River birch will produce surface roots, especially on wet or clay soils. River birch occurs frequently along stream banks throughout Kentucky, except in the Bluegrass region. Hot, dry weather may be responsible for the leaf drop on the river birch. An excerpt from the fact sheet on leaf spot. N-318 Ag Sciences Center University of Kentucky Lexington, KY 40546-0091, Fax (Lexington): 859-257-2859       (Princeton): 270-365-2667, For questions about home gardening, landscaping or commercial horticulture production, please contact your county extension agent. Considerable defoliation, sometimes with complete leaf loss, occurs on many trees by late spring in cool, wet years. It was very healthy until it recently developed this fungus or something on the leaves. Watch for leaf spot problems. Site design : Academic Web Pages. drainage. Leaf blight is one disease that affects river birches. Birch leafminers (Fenusa pusilla) are among the most common insects affecting landscape trees and shrubs in Minnesota.They feed inside the leaves of gray, paper, river and European white birches. These are fast growing trees that are coveted for the peeling bark. Resistant to bronze birch borer. The Garden wouldn't be … It is reportedly resistant to bronze birch borer and unlike most birches it is resistant to leaf spot. The River Birch appears very similar to the White Birch varieties, with the main distinction being the color of the bark. Leaf Spots Leaf spots may be caused by a variety of fungi that attack the river birch when heavy or prolonged rains occur in spring or shortly after new growth appears. River birch can be used as a screen or shade tree, and as a street tree with irrigation. For general undergraduate student information, contact Dr. Rick Durham at (859) 257-3249, or rdurham@uky.edu. It can have problems with leaf spot, birch leaf miner and aphids, but it is the only birch that is immune to the bronze birch borer. Birch Leaf Blight is usually found on River Birches and can be identified by black or brown spots on the leaves, usually encircled by a yellowish halo. It causes no lasting damage. The River Birch is a beautiful, fast-growing and very easy-to-grow North American native tree that thrives in sites with consistently moist soil. Perfect for gardeners with smaller gardens that still want to enjoy the peeling bark of the River Birch Tree. This purple-leaved birch is best grown as a specimen or accent. Prune out shading vegetation such as nearby trees and shrubs to. The leaves develop spots before they turn yellow so check the leaves closely for spotting. The ripening of seed coincides with high water levels of rivers, its native setting, allowing the seed to be carried long distances by the water. control in the landscape also includes raking up fallen leaves. Disease, symptoms are more severe in cool wet spring weather. ‘Cully' - Broadly pyramidal, with lighter bark than the species and large, glossy green leaves. The image shows a river birch infected with anthracnose. Its bark is whiter than any birch resistant to bronze birch borer. Ask an Expert is made up of groups and individual experts. Vigorous and fast growing, this medium-sized deciduous tree has a large, pyramidal, upright habit. Thank You! River birches shed some of their leaves in hot, dry weather. The birch tree is popular among homeowners due to its beautiful bark, modest size and graceful branches. Aphids, leaf miner and birch skeletonizer may also occur. It may struggle in the St. Louis climate. Gather all infected leaves as soon as they fall, and burn them to prevent the blight from returning next season. Perhaps its most appealing and outstanding feature is the highly attractive salmon and cream tones of the shedding bark that provides year-round interest in the landscape, especially during the winter. It has larger, glossier leaves, is hardy to at least -40 degrees F, and is able to adapt to the heat of the deep South. You can have your tree treated by a landscaping company licensed to handle chemicals if this is a recurring problem. Leaf blight can affect all types of birch tree, although River Birch is more susceptible because this disease thrives in damp conditions. An Equal Opportunity University. Two of the most common birch tree species in the Northeast are the River Birch and White Birch. Quick facts about birch leafminers. bronze birch borer can be a serious problem and often hits trees just as they enter their peak in the landscape. Copyright 2020, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. 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