Weeping birches are a common sight in many Saskatchewan yards. Their form and bark color makes them a very attractive landscape tree. Unfortunately, many areas of Saskatchewan lack suitable soils and environmental conditions that result in early dieback in birch, especially under conditions of stress.
Where they are naturally found, birches are adapted to cool, moist conditions and sandy to silty, loam soils. They also have a shallow root system that makes them very susceptible to the drought conditions often found in the central and southern Saskatchewan. Symptoms of birch dieback include sparse foliage at the top of the tree and yellowing of the remaining foliage. Dieback can progress down the tree and eventually result in the death of the tree.
Improving the environmental and cultural conditions under which the tree is growing can reduce the problem. Frequent deep watering until late August, fertilization if yellowing appears, pruning of dead and injured branches and planting in a sheltered location can help to extend the life of your birch when growing under less than natural conditions.