Iron Chlorosis of River Birch and Oak

Is your River Birch or Oak, specifically Pin Oak, displaying lime green or even worse, yellow leaves throughout the entire tree? If it is, your tree is trying to tell you something very important: it is in the process of dying.

River Birch and Oaks do not do well in many local neighborhoods. If your neighborhood has a lot of clay in the soil, the PH of the soil is such that it prevents the trees roots from naturally absorbing Iron from the soil. Since River Birch and Oaks need iron more than any other mineral, it is necessary that iron be injected in to the tree to green up the leaves or it will die.

Please view the below two photos.

This sick, Iron deficient River Birch would have died in 3-4 years without treatment. We treated it on treated 6/6/17.

This is the same River Birch following treatment by Tree Green taken 7/17/17 – just 6 weeks later!




Leaves act like little solar panels to absorb sunlight and then turn it into the starches and sugars a tree requires for energy. The ‘green’ inside the leaf is chlorophyll, which plays a crucial role in this process. When trees that are supposed to have green leaves have lime green or yellow leaves instead, the tree is much less efficient at absorbing sunlight and converting it into the energy it needs to survive. Eventually, this process will stop altogether. Simply put, without that energy, the tree will die.

In our 47 years, we’ve learned that amending the soil by adding Iron does not work. Again, it is not the lack of the Iron in the soil that causes the chlorosis, but rather the pH of the soil preventing the tree from absorbing it. Therefore, no amount of Iron in the soil will green up these trees. Our experience has shown that systemic injections directly into the trunk with chelated Iron extends the tree’s life for the longest period of time. It is important to note that even with treatment, eventually, 12, 18 or 24 years from now, the tree will still ultimately die from this condition. Unfortunately, we just can’t fool the tree forever by bypassing the roots. Eventually the tree will no longer accept the Iron.

If you have a River Birch or Oak exhibiting symptoms of this deficiency, please give us a call or send us an email to come out and inspect it so we can share a game plan for treatment with you. Once treated, your tree will be much greener and much healthier just weeks later.

Understanding our process and what to expect.
We typically treat these trees once every three (3) years for this condition. However, if your tree is exceptionally yellow, we will recommend two successive years of treatment before we go to the once every three year program. The year the tree is treated, it will green up as shown in the photo above. Then in the second year, a non-treatment year, it will start to show signs of yellowing but will still be greener than it was the previous year prior to the injection. In the third year, another non-treatment year, it will be fairly yellow again. Then the following year, the beginning of the 4th season, we re-inject the tree to green it up again so it can rebuild energy for 3 more years.

We have found that as long as the tree can build energy for the year or year and a half that its leaves are greener, it will have enough energy to sustain it for the three seasons between treatments.

You may be asking yourself, why not just inject these trees ‘every’ year. Cost is one reason. Why inject the tree any more frequently than is necessary? The second reason is that it is a rather invasive process. Treatment requires us drilling a series of half inch diameter holes into the trunk all the way around the tree and inserting plugs or implants containing the Iron, bypassing the roots. They dissolve under the bark and move up the tree with the sap flow. While it is generally agreed upon amongst Arborists, including ourselves, that drilling holes into a tree trunk isn’t a great idea, we still opt to use this process since we know the alternative is a dead tree. It is important to note that Tree Green has never lost a tree from the implanting process itself, only from the Iron deficiency if left untreated.

Please give us a call to have us check our tree  for iron deficiency, and for treatment.


Japanese Beetles started hatching a few weeks ago and will be around until September.  They are extremely heavy in middle to South Naperville, Aurora, Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles at the moment.

They love a variety of trees and shrubs but their favorite is the Linden followed by White Birch, River Birch, Elm, Purple Plum and certain varieties of Maple and Crab. They also attack certain shrubs too numerous to list.  If you see these trees displaying a ‘brownish hue’ toward the tops of the trees (as they like to feed in the sun) then you have Japanese Beetles.

You can also look for lacy leaves laying in the yard under the tree. The photo shows five beetles feeding on a Linden leaf creating that ‘lacy’ appearance.

We normally perform two spray applications to limit Japanese Beetle damage. Pictured below is a photo of a Linden tree which was taken last year in Naperville. This is the kind of total defoliation and damage Japanese Beetles are capable of if a tree is left untreated.

This kind of damage is exceptionally hard on the tree because when a tree is totally defoliated for any reason, the tree cannot absorb sunlight for energy, which affects the health of the tree.

If you find Japanese Beetles on your property, give us a call to quote a price for treatment!


EAB Treatment Should Continue

First, Some Emerald Ash Borer History…

In Michigan, where this insect made its first appearance in the United States, the Emerald Ash Borer ravaged the state and killed every Ash tree that had not been properly treated within about 9 years. The Ash trees that were saved in Michigan are now on a reduced ‘maintenance’ program. We had expected Illinois to follow suit and thought, as we’re sure you could understand, that it should naturally take about the same amount of time to reach that point in Illinois. We assumed that by now, just over 9 years after the Borer made its way down to Illinois, that we would have been able to reduce our treatment program to a maintenance level as well. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to recommend that as of yet. Why is that?

There was a far larger population of Ash trees here in Illinois than there originally were in Michigan. At the time, there was no apparent reason to consider the difference in the number of Ash trees per state. However, once 2016 got here, which was the 9th year of the infestation here in Illinois, it was evident that there are still thousands of untreated Ash trees around us that hadn’t died yet. Why the difference? In our opinion, and in the opinions of noted Master Arborists, it’s because there are so many more Ash trees here in Illinois.  So, it is taking longer for the insects to kill them all. When there are more Ash trees for the Ash Borer to choose from, it means fewer insects per tree, thus delaying and dragging out the dying process.

ash trees with eabPlease notice the photo that we included which was taken this week. It shows three Ash trees in an office park on Warrenville Road just a few traffic lights East of Naperville Road. If you pay attention as you’re driving around, you’ll notice that there are still untreated Ash trees such as these all over DuPage and Kane County. They are in homeowner’s yards, on commercial properties and in our extensive and beautiful Forest Preserve system. As long as Ash trees exist that have any live growth on them at all, they are capable of supporting the Emerald Ash Borer population. One would think that the folks who own these damaged, dying trees, and who have chosen to not treat them, would realize that they would inevitably die and would remove them for aesthetic appeal if nothing else. Unfortunately, for whatever reason they are delaying removing their trees, so these Ash trees still stand continuing to put everyone else’s Ash at continued risk.

We do not have a more definitive answer as to when we will be able to reduce the treatment program against the Emerald Ash Borer but for the reasons just explained, we must stay with the current program. The insect is definitely on the downhill slide but we just aren’t there yet.