Is this River Birch going to survive?

by | Mar 29, 2010 | Resources, Market News, Ask Pahl's Market

Dear Dee: 
We just purchased a River Birch from Pahl’s and had it delivered and planted in early August.  The river birch leaves have since yellowed and begun falling off the tree.  The branches look healthy, and there are still some green leaves, but of course, we’re concerned about the health of the tree since it’s been newly planted.  Should we just sit tight and see what spring brings for this tree, or should we take some action at this point?  It’s reassuring to know that Pahl’s guarantees the tree for one year, however, we just hate to lose it so quickly if we can avoid that.  Thanks!
You are to be commended for being proactive and watching for any signs of stress on your tree.  I went to one of our Tree and Shrub Specialists, and he brought up several points:  

How much water is your tree getting?  River birches need to be well watered.  He suggested 5 gallons of water each week, and to be sure, he said it must be measured.  If an irrigation system is used, it is not enough water.  Is there mulch around the tree?  Is it planted in landscape fabric and rock?  He mentioned that this is a difficult environment for birch trees to grow in.   Rock is quite heavy, and rocks absorb heat.  If there is mulch around the base of the tree, simply move away the rocks/wood mulch from the base and then water as usual.  This will help the tree gets the amount of water it needs.  He said not to be surprised if some of the foliage falls.  Careful watering, and the right amount, will benefit your tree, and it WILL bud out and leaf again.  He also said next spring it may start out kind of slow, but don’t be alarmed.  It will catch up with your other trees and shrubs in no time.  Hope this helps alleviate some concerns.


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