White birch trees

Asked July 22, 2015, 8:21 AM EDT

Why is it that white birch trees don't tend to do well in Pennsylvania as ornamental trees, at least in my specific area (Murrysville). We were warned away from planting white birch when we moved to the area 15 years ago. Instead, we planted a river birch which is doing very well. Thank you.

Westmoreland County Pennsylvania birch

1 Response

The European White Birch (Petula pendula) is extremely susceptible to damge from the bronze birch borer, a native species of beetle (Agrilus anxius). Every white birch that I have ever seen planted in Western Pennsylvania has eventually succumbed to the birch borer despite efforts to protect the trees. You were very wise to plant a river birch (Betula nigra) instead. Because it is a native tree, it is far less susceptible to damage from the BBB. Here's a link to more info about the river birch:

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.369.2867&rep=rep1&type=pdf

It is always a good idea to do a bit of research before buying and planting trees!

Thanks for your question.