Twig Dieback in Maples, River Birch and Red Bud Trees

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When twig dieback strikes the tips of branches and new growth, the normally pleasant looking maple, river birch or red bud trees takes on an appearance of a tree on the verge of death. Twig dieback can be caused by exposure to drying winter winds paired with poor watering. While there’s no cure for dieback wilt, you can take steps to prevent twig dieback by providing an ideal environment for growing, making your trees less susceptible to disease.

Ensure your maple, river birch or red bud tree is planted in a partial sun area with afternoon shade, where airflow around the tree is not blocked by buildings or solid fences. The soil around this area should also be well-draining to prevent verticillium wilt.

Water your tree regularly by providing a deep drink twice a week. Different varieties of maple will prefer to stay dry between watering – while other trees like the river birch thrive in medium moisture. Please do your research as to how much water your specific tree needs. Never add water if the soil is already damp to the touch as this can encourage wilt. Keep 2 inches deep of pine needle mulch around the base of the tree to retain moisture, especially in winter.

And lastly, prune away dead growth, root suckers or rubbing branches in fall to maintain air circulation through the plant. Prune back branches that grow in the center of the tree if light isn’t filtering through the canopy of the tree to allow for maximum airflow and sun penetration.

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