Birch Trees

Why Are the Birch Pushing Buds and Catkins in August?

Belinda added on August 22, 2012 | Answered

Here in northern IL we had early bud break followed by hard frost and then drought and now nighttime temps in the 50s. I am seeing terminal bud break and catkins on river and white birch, both young and old. How will this affect them in the spring 2013?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on September 4, 2012

The weather has been odd this year and the plants are confused. The early break (followed by cold), current light and warm weather are telling the plant it is spring.

If the plant gets through this and goes properly dormant before winter, it should be fine. The problem will be if the plant does not go dormant in time for winter, you could see severe cold damage to them this winter.

There is not much you can do for them except to try to help them into dormancy. If you are currently watering, start to pull back that water. If you normally mulch, wait until you get a frost to do this. Other than that, hope that you get a cool but mild autumn that will help the plants realize that it is time to go to bed, not to wake up.

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