Strange Leaves on River Birch

sallyreams(seven)May 6, 2012

What is wrong with the leaves on my River Birch? 2 photos below. 1) top of leaf is malformed with ridges all over and 2)under the leaf is white powder and black dots. These leaves are on almost every limb of my young tree, only about 15 feet tall. How do i get rid of this? Will it spread to other plants nearby?

1)Top of leave:

2) bottom of leaf:

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polluted with is on way.......I see ladybug eggs

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:09AM
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yes, there are lady bugs on the tree too! I didn't know aphids attacked trees.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:17AM
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Oh my yes, and they especially like birch. I hope I'm not steering you wrong, they look like aphids from the way it presents on my monitor. You sound like you are an experienced gardener............knock one off and look.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 1:51PM
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Had the same problem last year. Called an arborist who recommended 2 types of treatments - One was a simple spray applied twice in the year - early spring and mid summer, and the other was some treatment directly injected into the root zone of the birch.

I opted for the second option. It seemed to work BUT I have just noticed a few leaves turn yellow and crinkled again this week ( very very few). However, there are no aphids / black soot like covering underneath them. Guess the treatment is working .. he recommends treatment every year as river birches are susceptible.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 8:46PM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

Odds are that eventually the lady bugs (and others) will eliminate the aphids. A severe outbreak of aphids is almost always followed by a severe munching by preditors. It may be ugly now, but birches are resilient. I have several river birches and have "seen it all." Chemicals aren't always the answer - nature has its own controls. It levels off. Visit "my page."

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 9:04PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Aphids are very temperature sensitive and usually do their worst damage in spring before it gets very hot (and in spring the leaves are more tender). If the infestation is localized, which it often is, try strong blasts of water from the hose to knock them off. I have never sprayed anything else for aphids - I let the beneficial insects do most of the work as hortster notes.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 9:12AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Yes, I've had the same issue w/river birch. I thought it was a waxy scale insect -- no matter, it's some kind of sucking insect. Ladybugs do eventually control them, but sometimes not after considerable damage. Years later, there's still a few of them -- I just pinch off the affected leaves I can reach -- affected leaves won't recover.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 11:22AM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

I've never been sickened by the sight of a plant, but those pics make me throw-up a little in my mouth.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 12:07AM
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