Floods and floating ice periodically destroy or damage young riverbank stands of river birch, but young trees are usually free of serious disease. Anthracnose leaf blight caused by the fungus Gloeosporium betularum is the principal leaf disease. Christmas mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum) is a common pest in the South because of the tree's preference for low, wet sites. It is usually disease-free unless old or damaged (5). Although river birch is host to several species of insects, it has no serious insect pests.
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