Bought a new birch tree then learned about it

I went to Walmart the other day in hopes of finding some relatively inexpensive landscape plants, there I found clumping river birches for $4.99 (SALE!). I have always wanted a birch, I love the bark (though, during that time of purchase, I knew very little about birches – but I can’t pass up a sale… and what could go wrong?).

Clumping Birch Tree Image
Clumping River Birch Tree

There were about 5 birch trees left and I picked the one that looked healthiest, when compared to the other ones (it at least leafed out on all branches). The image above is the plant I chose.

So, after the purchase I did a little bit of research on birches – I think this plant is going to need extra TLC for a couple of years.

leaf spot & chlorosis on new river birch tree
leaf spot & chlorosis

It’s highly susceptible to chlorosis, leaf spot & blights, and aphid activity (actually, the one I bought already has leaf spot & chlorosis). Beyond that, it prefers a sandy base soil (mine is loamy clay). I don’t know exactly where I’m going to plant it, though I do know the roots may uplift pavement and possibly damage my basement – So it’s going to be at least 25 feet away from those areas.

To try and help the chlorosis I’m going to collect some of the fallen needles from a pine tree on my property and incorporate that into the hole I’m about to dig. This should help up the acid in the soil which may help the plant better retrieve the iron from the soil. Don’t know for sure, but we’ll try it out. This fall and next spring I’ll also have our technician, Tim, deep root feed this tree to help add additional micronutrients (along with iron) to the soil.

So, now all I have to deal with is the leaf spot. That should be easy to take care of considering we are a chemical lawn care company. I will get it on schedule for 2 fungicide sprays for next spring when it leafs out (there isn’t much we can do about it at this time).

I will periodically take snap shots of this birch to show it’s progress.


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