Because you can harvest birch seeds easily from an existing birch tree, many people enjoy the challenge of planting birch tree seeds. Gather the seeds in the summer and plant them before winter to enable the seeds to stratify. The process of stratification involves a freezing period that some seeds need before they are able to germinate. The following spring, your birch seeds should sprout into tiny birch trees.
Select a growing area for the birch trees in early autumn. Mature birch trees may reach heights of between 25 and 50 feet. When a birch tree is young, it will benefit from light shading from other nearby trees.
Remove the grass from a 4-foot circle around the planting area. Dig up the grass layer with a shovel and discard the grass.
Cultivate the soil with the garden spade down to a depth of 4 to 6 inches in the center area of the 4-foot circle (encompassing approximately 1 foot in the center of the circle). Add 1 to 2 inches of compost to the soil if you desire; however, average soil quality is sufficient for growing a birch tree so compost is optional. Work the compost into the soil well with the garden spade and rake the soil surface smooth.
Dig a shallow hole for a birch seed in the center of the circle you prepared. Cover the seed with approximately ¼ inch of soil and firm the soil down lightly with your hands.
Water the planting area to moisten the soil immediately after you plant the birch seed. Strive to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the autumn to aid in germination.
Apply a 2-inch layer of wood chips over the circle, keeping the mulch 2 inches away from the center where you planted the seed. Wood chips around the root area of the birch tree will help keep the soil the proper temperature and will keep grass from encroaching on the birch sapling when it emerges from the soil the following spring.
Watch for the birch seed to sprout the following spring after the ground warms sufficiently. Keep the birch sapling evenly moist throughout its first growing season.