river birch tree

We have a small river birch tree that we planted last year. Last year we watered it a lot when we first planted and it lost at least half of the leaves. They turned yellow and fell off. This year we have the same problem. One half of the tree turns yellow and we water and it helps. What can we do or what are we not doing to solve this problem. We love river birch trees and they add so much to our landscape. Thank You
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

Be sure that you are not overwatering the tree. They need, at most, an inch per week during hot weather, but it is possible to overdo it and drown them. Yellow leaves can appear in both drought and flood. It sounds like the tree was stressed last year, and that it is still suffering. When you water too frequently, even for  tree that likes moist soil, it will not make as great an effort to put out new roots and become established. When it doesn't become well established, it suffers more in hot weather because it doesn't have the root system to support itself. If the winter was tough as well, you may lose the tree just because it has struggled for over a year. Hold off on the watering until the top two inches of soil is dry. If the tree still struggles next summer, it may need to be replaced.  


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