Birch Borers


Old 06-11-03, 11:07 AM
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Birch Borers

Hi everyone,

I apologize in advance for the long post, please read!

It appears that my 2 mature birch trees (I think Europeen Birch) are infected with insects. My neigbour informed me of this as his brother-in-law is an arborist. I would like to mention that we just moved in to the house and my wife and I look pretty young.

I was informed that I must either treat the trees or chop them down completely. As I like the privacy the trees provide, chopping them down is a last resort.

Besides what appears to be a few entry holes, ridges on the trunk and some major arteries, and a couple of dead average size branches, there is little to my eye that indicate a major problem.

In my investigations, it appears that the concensus is to treat the ground around the tree with chemicals (im assuming pesticides), drill holes in the ridges and inject a solution (again asuming more pesticides), and fertilize the tree. This of course on top of cutting dead and interfering branches.

The arborist wants nearly $800 for the above work. Thats 7 hours at $90/hr + taxes (15%). FYI, Quebec,Canada, The highest taxed state in North America)

So my questions are:

Does this price seem fair (I think not)?

From the information I provided, is the solution appropriate?

Can I perform this myself (Application of pesticides)?

Can A mature tree withstand such an attack?

Is it other instances like extreme cold winter(which we had), and exposed roots that froze limiting nutrients resulting in speratic dead branches?

I appreciate any help at all.
If you would like more information, please ask!

Thanks a million guys,


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Old 06-11-03, 01:07 PM
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I am not an aborist but my parents have lived through the birch borer scenario. I will give you the insight I have learned. A family friend who is an aborist first noticed that my parents three mature 30ft white birch trees were getting a little straggly up on top about 7 years ago. Decided to wait a year. The next year it was apparent that there were problems and it was borers. He recommended the same treatment-ground and drilling holes in the tree to treat. The chemicals are not available to the DIY'er and you need to have a special permit to dispense (at least in NY). He likened the treatment to chemotherapy. Basically if the tree can handle the poison chemical injected into it and the borers take in the poison the borer will die and the tree will recover. He was not optomistic and advised my parents that they were propably delaying the inevitable. Well seven years later they lost all three trees. Hopefully the technology has improved in the last seven years. Good luck.
Old 06-14-03, 10:14 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,834
Birch Borers

If trees are of significant value to you and your landscape, call a professional. Birch bark beetles tend to work rapidly and take a toll.

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