Paper birch (Betula papyrifera) are wonderful addition to a landscape. These trees have an abundant, draping canopy with delicate leaves.
With the proper planting and care, trees can last up to 50 years in Calgary. Birch trees need extra consideration when planting to ensure their longevity. A north east or east planting site is ideal. These trees need abundant sunshine on their leaves but cool damp areas for their roots. The birch roots are shallow and often succumb to dry, hot soils. Shallow root systems do better with mulch and continuous damp conditions. Chinooks are hard on these species as the ground above the roots can be exposed and cause dissection.
Trees that are planted in poor or exposed sites are subject to constant stress. Constant stress is an invitation for insect and disease problems. The two most common birch pathogens are birch leaf miner and bronze birch borer. Both insects do not respond very well to chemical treatments. Pruning of dead branches and proper disposal of infected limbs are your best defences.
Birch trees should continue to be planted. If proper sites are chosen and care is taken, these trees will be a valuable part of the Calgary landscape.