Birch trees are mid-sized trees with distinctive white or red-brown bark, depending on the type of birch, and long green leaves that turn yellow in fall. The beautiful bark of the birch makes this tree a great addition to a yard, as the tree looks attractive even in winter. Help keep your birch tree looking healthy and attractive year-round by monitoring for signs of common tree diseases and calling in a tree service for assistance when necessary.
Heart Rot Disease
The fungal disease heart rot will cause mushroom-shaped appendages to sprout out of weakened areas of your birch tree such as a broken branch or an area of marred bark. The good news is that the heart rot only goes after damaged tree material and ignores the healthy material. Unless you have a particularly damaged trunk that the rot can infect, the life of the tree isn't threatened by heart rot disease.
If you suspect heart rot, call in a tree services company to attend to the matter. Tree trimming of the affected branches and damaged bark will rid the tree of heart rot. Avoid causing any additional damage to the tree by nicking the bark with pruning tools.
The sores caused by canker disease resemble those found in human mouths. The fungus-borne cankers are circular and reddened and can reach the point of emitting a sap that resembles pus drainage. Some types of canker disease are no more threatening to the tree's life than heart rot and can be trimmed for treatment. However, other types of canker can spread throughout the tree and kill off enough healthy tissue that the tree's life is in jeopardy.
Ask a professional to test and diagnose the type of canker affecting your tree to determine the course of treatment. If the advanced canker has caused too much damage already, you might have to call in a tree removal company to avoid infecting neighboring trees.
Leaf Scorch Disease
Bacteria or fungus can deliver leaf scorch disease to your birch tree. The disease's name comes from the fact that the water vessels in the leaves are killed off and the leaf begins to die – but initially only around the edges, as if the leaf was set on fire and is slowly burning.
Leaf scorch can move on to infecting the branches and trunk but the process is so slow that you should be able to catch the disease well before it begins to spread. Remove any affected leaves and clear dropped leaves away so that insects can't feed on the leaves then transmit the disease back to that tree or a neighboring tree.