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Question: 557-2311
My large Black Birch is dropping leaves very suddenly. What could be the problem? Gary, Bosra, CT

Mort's Answer:
My first concern would be earwigs. Another problem, but less likely, is leaf miner. Leaf miners leave a nude colored mapping in the leaves. Birch usually survive infestation. Some folks actually think it is part of the plant because it is so common. Earwigs can be verified by a presence of ants at this time of year. Look for a split in the bark within three feet of the ground on the trunk. You will need tree surgery by an arborist or you can do this yourself. You will need a sharp linoleum knife or similar instrument. Make an incision that will encompass the entire brown or black area. You need to make a continuous cut that is leaf shaped with a point at the top and another at the bottom. Go as deep as necessary to get to white wood. It should also be as wide as necessary. Dab the open area with malathion and fill with tree wax or tree seal. If there is a large hole that required a chisel, you can use cement to fill the hole.

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