Heritage river birch -losing leaves and how long do they live?

amocJuly 3, 2007


I am in zone 5, NY's Hudson Valley. I have planted 4 multi trunked heritage river birches on my property, about 6 years ago. They are lovely and growing up fast and I am so happy to finally have some dappled shade around my house.

However... Every year around this time they lose about a third to half of their leaves (they yellow out and fall). They seem fine after that and come back fine each spring and grow significantly each year. No dead branches, etc. Do you think they are under some kind of stress? I do water the perennial beds around them... but not very consistently... My soil is sandy and poor, ph ~6.5. But there are beds around them and they are mulched and cow manure/top soil has been added consistently. Why do you think the leaves fall?

Secondly, how long do these trees live? Should I get some other trees started around them so they can fill in later? I do need shade where they are... I saw this question was asked before but not for this area...

Thanks much!


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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

It is usually the same reason for the yellowing. They are river birches so they are used to living alongside rivers. Any other place and they will have some leaf loss during the hottest of summer days. This will not hurt the tree, but is actually the way the tree deals with water issues. I heard in the urban landscape they can last only maybe 25-40 years, but that is not always the case. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 11:20PM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

Shedding leaves is how some trees deal with water stress. Less leaves means less water loss.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 10:02AM
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