People love Paper Birch trees. Too bad that here, in Chicago, it's too hot (not what you thought about Chicago, right? Warmth?) for Paper Birches. It's like a pizza oven here in August (which explains why there's pizza everywhere) and they are native to even cooler temperatures. So, when a Paper Birch gets too hot it makes bad decisions and becomes stressed, just like me on Bourbon Street. Once it's stressed, it practically booty calls the bronze birch borer. This hook up will be the eventual downfall of the birch, as the borers drill further and further into its flesh, the birch begins to show effects like yellowing foliage and twig dieback, not to mention plummeting self esteeem.

Protection? Yeah, there's protection available, in the form of soil drenches and insecticides you paint on the trunk. That stuff smells like hate and it needs repeated applications, just saying.

And yet-- I feel the need for birch in my life. A true life-long relationship isn't in the cards, so I've absconded with some old birch poles that were in winter containers and I'm working on building cucumber trellises, tomato stakes and bean tee pees from them. All the birch without any of the borer!


To read the complete article, join now!

With FGplus, you'll get exclusive:

  • Articles – Exclusive articles for more advanced gardeners.
  • Videos – Join our editors on their behind-the-scenes journeys.
  • Digital Library – Gain access to our digital library of special issues.
  • Need help? Our Ask-the-Expert contributors will answer your questions.