Birch bark was used by Native American tribes for building canoes and huts. Today birch is used commercially to make flooring, plywood and roofing. The birch tree (Betula) is native to temperate forests where the soil is cool and moist. Its shallow root system cannot tolerate heat. Choosing the planting site for the birch is therefore one of the most important aspects to its success.
Choose a planting location for the birch tree. It requires all-day sun but cool, moist soil. The east and north sides of the home are ideal sites, according to the USDA. Keeping in mind the eventual height of the tree, check for overhead power lines and wires.
Test the pH of your soil. Birch trees, with few exceptions, require acidic soil with a pH of 5.0 to 6.5. The county extension office in your area can perform a soil test and offer suggestions for suitable soil amendments to adjust your pH, if needed.
Dig up the planting area with a shovel or garden fork to a depth of 12 inches. Add the soil amendments recommended by the pH test results, and mix them to a depth of 8 inches.
Dig a hole that is the same depth as the pot in which the birch tree is growing. The hole should be three times the width of the pot.
Remove the birch tree starter from the pot, and place the roots into the hole. Put the soil back into the hole until it is half full, and then fill the hole with water. When the water drains, finish filling the hole. Use your feet to lightly pack the soil down around the base of the birch tree.
Water the birch tree until the water puddles. When it drains, place a 3-inch ring of mulch around the base of the tree, 2 inches away from the trunk.