Protect Your Birch from Infestation

Large birch tree

Drought and extreme heat have made Salem's birch trees more vulnerable to the Bronze Birch Borer. One way to protect your birch trees is to keep them healthy with regular watering.

​How healthy is your birch tree? Bronze Birch Borer infestation is spreading in Salem due to the extreme heat waves over the last few summers. Taking good care of your birch trees (genus Betula) is the first line of defense to keep these pests away.

Transporting  firewood from one place to another is one of the main ways the Bronze Birch Borer moves into  new locations. Buying locally sourced firewood can reduce the possibility of introducing this pest into areas that aren't infested.

Watering can protect trees

"Bronze Birch Borer (BBB) cannot kill healthy trees and is most likely to attack old, stressed, or drought-stricken trees," says Milan Davis, our Urban Forester. "While many homeowners may not place a high priority on watering mature trees, this can be a key strategy for preventing BBB damage in dry areas. Birch trees tend to be shallow-rooted and respond well to watering."

Removing trees too damaged to recover can disrupt the pest's life cycle and slows it's spread. Trees that  have lost more than half of their leaves (level-5 damage), are beyond recovery and need to be removed, Davis says.

The success of your treatment plan may be affected by neighborhood conditions and, your attention to this problem can benefit your neighborhood. If your tree or trees have a Bronze Birch Borer infestation, treatment will benefit both your trees and your neighbors' trees.

If you suspect a City-owned tree is infested, please call 503-588-6311 or [email protected]

More Resources

OSU Extension: Homeowner Guide to Managing Bronze Birch Borer

Apply for a City Tree Permit

Remove Trees on Your Property

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