I have several groups of white birch trees we planted 5 years ago. They’ve been beautiful, until this year. Three groups have almost no leaves on them. They’re in different locations, only 2 groups are close to each other. I never saw signs of leafminers or anything affecting the trees or leaves last year. What could cause this?

There is a birch tree blight that can cause this. It is a leaf disease so it isn’t likely that it will kill the tree. This sometimes happens when we have an excessively damp spring. I might feed them a little Tree-Tone plant food by pounding holes into the soil under the drip line (outermost branch tips). Make sure to rake up and remove any leaves that fall and remove them from the yard…especially the leaves that fall this autumn. Another thing to check is the base of the tree where the trunk enters the soil. Make sure you haven’t buried the trunk with soil of mulch. Brush back the mulch or soil until you find the original soil line where the trunk enters the soil. If the trunk is buried with mulch or soil or slows the flow of moisture and nutrients up the trunk weakening the tree and making it more likely to die from diseases and stress. Peter Bowden

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