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How to save a Dying Birch Tree? (Step-by-Step Guide)


Do you have birch or alder trees? You may have noticed sap dripping from the trunk, discoloration and premature leaf fall, dead branches and other abnormal symptoms on your trees. The birch borer, a piercing insect, is responsible.


What are the birch diseases?

The birch is a tree that is particularly resistant to weather conditions, but also to diseases. It can be attacked by parasites, but often only for a short period of time without needing to be treated. Its greatest threat is the rot fungus, which is particularly present in damp soil and begins to attack the roots, then the trunk.


How to save a birch tree if it is sick?

A tree is subject to the aggressions linked to its environment. Among them, diseases, often due to microscopic fungi (cryptogamic diseases), bacteria, viruses or more rarely, the lack of a nutrient. Here are 4 methods to save a dying birch tree.



Biocontrol aims to reduce the use of products that are potentially harmful to health and the environment.


Some biocontrol products are now available to home gardeners, but others, used today only by professional arborists, will probably be used in the coming years. Potassium bicarbonate and Bacillus subtilis are two examples.


Bacillus subtilis

This is a bacterium that stimulates the natural defenses of crops (fruit trees but also vegetables) against several diseases such as moniliosis, scab, gray mold, fire blight, etc. 


Potassium bicarbonate

This product is mainly used against powdery mildew, but also against apple scab and moniliosis in peach.



Copper, especially Bordeaux mixture, is still one of the most important fungicides for the control of fungal diseases.


How can you tell if a birch tree is dead?

Scratch the bark to see. With your fingernail or a pocketknife, scrape in a section where the bark is still relatively thin, enough to see the cambium. If the tree is alive, the cambium will be green. If it is brown or white, unfortunately, the trunk is dead.


When to cut the branches of a birch tree?

The pruning of the birch is done in autumn or winter, when the tree is in its vegetative rest period, so as not to exhaust it.


What are the diseases of the birch?

Overview. Birch septoria is a fungus native to North America. When attacked by this fungus, leaves become covered with brown spots and darkened in outline. Prolonged periods of cool, wet weather are conducive to the development of the pathogen.


How do I care for a birch tree, so it doesn’t get sick again?

Birch trees require absolutely no maintenance except for occasional watering during the dry months for a few years after planting. You can mulch the foot copiously to remedy this inconvenience.


Plants planted in a container require regular watering, which can be done with an automatic watering program.


Birches are generally not very sensitive to diseases and pests. They do not tolerate pruning and are often contaminated by the European canker (Nectria galligena) when the wounds are important. Simply clean the branches of broken twigs and cleanly prune branches that are broken or have necrosis and blisters.


You can scrub with a sponge soaked in soapy water once a year to accentuate the shine on trunks and large branches in the fall.


When the ground is very wet, the rot can attack the birch, which starts to wither. Black birch is not susceptible. Other diseases (aphids, rust, mealy bugs) are not dangerous. Avoid adding too much nitrogen fertilizer, which makes the tree more sensitive to parasitic attacks.

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