promote better sunlight penetration and air movement. River birch occurs frequently along stream banks throughout Kentucky, except in the Bluegrass region. Betula nigra (River Birch) is a bushy deciduous tree prized for its incredible peeling bark. It should be pruned in summer because it bleeds if pruned in spring. Thanks to its shallow root system, river birch is easy to transplant. WARNING: Some websites to which these materials provide links for the convenience of users are not managed by the University of Kentucky. These trees can be grown either with a single trunk or multi-stemmed. 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. Various leaf miners and aphids may infest it, but these problems are unimportant. Aphids, leaf miner and birch skeletonizer may also occur. Leaf diseases on birch in the landscape are usually, not severe enough to warrant chemical spray controls. It will often shed its interior leaves if there is not enough soil moisture. For one, think river birch gets BIG -- up to 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide. control in the landscape also includes raking up fallen leaves. You must also try to remove the fallen leaves, so as to avoid spread of this disease. Leaf spot diseases weaken trees and shrubs by interrupting photosynthesis. Pests No pests are of major concern. ‘Cully' - Broadly pyramidal, with lighter bark than the species and large, glossy green leaves. In order to control this disease, you have to prevent overcrowding by moderate pruning of branches and leaves. 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. Click here, then click on your county either on the map or from the list of counties below it. They form blotch mines, … River birch seed germinates quickly in mud, allowing it to grow in areas where it helps prevent erosion. Anthracnose is a group of diseases that can affect a wide range of trees, including members of the birch family. Insect feeding can cause similar symptoms and if you carefully check the leaves for a sticky substance (honeydew) or cast skins, you can either confirm or eliminate insect problems. Also, we had a wet and cool May which has caused a lot of fungal activity. In nature, they are found in flood plains, swamps, and along streams. Aphids, leaf miner and birch skeletonizer may occur. The leaves develop spots before they turn yellow so check the leaves closely for spotting. It was very healthy until it recently developed this fungus or something on the leaves. The standard, European White Birch that was commonly used decades ago, is now difficult to find. Leaf Diseases. Insecticides can be applied if birch leafminer is the culprit. 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 is drought sensitive and does not like hot, dry summers. Fall webworms may produce webbing on the ends of limbs from June through the end of summer, and feed on foliage within the webbing. Considerable defoliation, sometimes with complete leaf loss, occurs on many trees by late spring in cool, wet years. Infected leaves develop tan to reddish brown lesions that extend along the veins of the leaf. Quick facts about birch leafminers. Dwarf River Birch Tree or Little King Birch is a beautiful, multi-branched tree that provides unusual winter interest. It causes the trees to lose up to 40% of their leaves during the summer. ‘Heritage' is better than river birch seedlings produced by cuttings and tissue culture, and has been shown to outgrow the seedlings by 50 percent. Two of the most common birch tree species in the Northeast are the River Birch and White Birch. If you notice small spots on the tree's leaves that are tan, brown, or even black … Gather all infected leaves as soon as they fall, and burn them to prevent the blight from returning next season. Practical. Leaf blight is one disease that affects river birches. River Birch is resistant to the bronze birch borer which infects and kills trees. You can have your tree treated by a landscaping company licensed to handle chemicals if this is a recurring problem. River birch seed ripens in May and June. Hot, dry weather may be responsible for the leaf drop on the river birch. The image shows a river birch infected with anthracnose. 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. ‘Heritage' - Heat-loving, highly adaptive cultivar that won a Pennsylvania Horticulture Society Gold Medal in 1990. Caring for Your Birch Tree. Site design : Academic Web Pages. Thanks! The River Birch appears very similar to the White Birch varieties, with the main distinction being the color of the bark. River birch was first cultivated in 1736. Has good resistance to bronze birch borer. River birch will produce surface roots, especially on wet or clay soils. An Equal Opportunity University. 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. Healthy, well-established trees should not be seriously harmed by hot, dry weather. An affliction to river birch trees (Betula nigra) growing in the landscape was noticed in Cheboygan and Emmet counties this summer. Thank You! For graduate student information, contact Dr. Doug Archbold at 859-257-3352, or [email protected], River Birch - Betula nigraBirch Family (Betulaceae). Copyright 2020, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. However, they typically occur late in the season and most are not significantly detrimental. 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. The first symptom is the appearance of extremely small brown or black spots on the youngest leaves. Here is a link to a fact sheet on river birch, its diseases and pests. 'Fox Valley' is extremely resistant to the bronze birch borer and also has good resistance to leaf spot diseases. Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Birches are considered “bleeders”, avoid pruning in late spring before leaves emerge. "'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. It is more vigorous than the species. It causes no lasting damage. It is caused by the leaf blight fungus that thrives in wet conditions. This is too big for the average yard, especially when you consider how close to the house lots of people mistakenly plant it. 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. A dwarf Variety that will only reach heights of 10 feet. These spots could be caused by other leaf infecting fungi, including Septoria, Cylindrosporium, Discula, and Marssonina. Disease, symptoms are more severe in cool wet spring weather. 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 … 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. River birches shed some of their leaves in hot, dry weather. River birches are attractive when planted in groups, especially against a dark background. Hello: We planted this river birch approximately 1 year ago. And in Grumpy's opinion, the bigger a river birch gets, the less attractive it … Resistant to bronze birch borer. If birch leaf blight is found to be the cause, a simple solution is making sure the tree is receiving proper air circulation and promptly rake and remove all fallen leaves from the site in order to help eliminate the fungal spores. Watch for leaf spot problems. This disease will cause leaves to drop quickly, so if your Birch is dropping leaves early, investigate the fallen leaves for … Cylindrosporium and Septoria cause small spots with no borders and Colletotrichum causes larger brown spots with darker borders. Watch for leaf spot problems. 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. One aphid causes the leaves to crinkle in the spring. It is superior in terms of disease resistance, as it is not plaqued as heavily by leaf spot or borers. 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. Ornamentally, the peeling bark is very striking at a young age, exfoliating to reveal salmon-brown and white patches. Prompt sp… River birch can be used as a screen or shade tree, and as a street tree with irrigation. drainage. Ask an Expert is made up of groups and individual experts. Salmon-cream to brownish at first, it exfoliates to reveal a creamy-white inner bark that can almost rival with the European white birches. bronze birch borer can be a serious problem and often hits trees just as they enter their peak in the landscape. The birch tree is popular among homeowners due to its beautiful bark, modest size and graceful branches. Leaf spot is unsightly, but not lethal to the tree. An excerpt from the fact sheet on leaf spot. In most cases there is no need to spray trees to combat these leaf spots. 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. Perfect for gardeners with smaller gardens that still want to enjoy the peeling bark of the River Birch Tree. Fall color can be a good yellow, and the habit is … In moist years, it may develop leaf spot which can defoliate the interior, older leaves of the tree. Leaf spot diseases should be taken seriously if they result in moderate to complete leaf loss two to four years in a row. Plants benefit with a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch and supplemental water in dry periods. It is reportedly resistant to bronze birch borer and unlike most birches it is resistant to leaf spot. Leaves in the interior of the river birch turn yellow and drop to the ground. Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: River Birch tends to shed interior leaves during summer droughts and dry periods and can become stressed by summer heat and humidity. Dwarf River Birch Little King Trees for Sale Online. Back to Previous Page. This purple-leaved birch is best grown as a specimen or accent. Send mail to [email protected] with questions about this site. Diseases Leaf spots; chlorosis on soils with a high pH. SPOTTY LEAVES. These are fast growing trees that are coveted for the peeling bark. River birch may be troubled by various fungal leaf spot diseases, resulting in early leaf drop during rainy summers. Another common birch tree disease is leaf spots. 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. River Birch 'Cully' (Betula nigra) is often sold under the name HERITAGE. 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 … River birch has fewer insect and disease problems than any other birch. It may struggle in the St. Louis climate. 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. Prune out shading vegetation such as nearby trees and shrubs to. Anthracnose diseases, caused by Marssonina and Discula pathogens, form angular blotches instead of round spots. Its bark is whiter than any birch resistant to bronze birch borer. River Birch has excellent heat tolerance, but may struggle in periods of extended drought. The Garden wouldn't be … For undergraduate student information regarding the Sustainable Agriculture program, contact Dr. Krista Jacobsen at (859) 257-3921, or [email protected] Landscapers have moved to using River Birches because of better resistance to certain insect problems. Betula nigra 'Heritage' is a beautiful river birch prized for its incredible peeling bark. It is an infection caused by bacteria and fungi, and results in spots on the leaves. For general undergraduate student information, contact Dr. Rick Durham at (859) 257-3249, or [email protected] The university does not review, control or take responsibility for the contents of those sites. Leaf blight can affect all types of birch tree, although River Birch is more susceptible because this disease thrives in damp conditions. Fungal diseases from various pathogens cause leaf spots, blotches and blisters on birch trees. The trees appear to have what has been described by others, including John Ruter (Univeristy of Georgia), as mouse ear, squirrel ear, little leaf or leaf curl. Your help would be appreciated on what it is and what may be causing it. Birch anthracnose or leaf spot Cryptocline betularum, Discula betulina and others 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 … The Kentucky champion tree is in Johnson County and is 80 feet tall. 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. This site was last updated on December 18, 2020. Begin with leaf blight, a fungal disease which causes summer leaf drop. Vigorous and fast growing, this medium-sized deciduous tree has a large, pyramidal, upright habit. Garden Uses. Salmon-pink, smooth and shiny at first, the bark flakes and curls in cinnamon-brown to blackish sheets. The dark green leaves are leathery to the touch and turn yellow in the fall.