Birch trees provide attractive, medium-sized trees prized for their unique bark. They can be propagated by seed, but are more often purchased as saplings and transplanted. These trees require a large amount of water and often die before reaching maturity when planted in the landscape. Birch trees transplanted with care, in just the right conditions, have the best chance of longevity.
Choose the right location. Birch trees need full sun and sandy soil that largely remains cool and moist throughout the season. Also consider space. A birch tree's roots, though relatively shallow, will spread twice as wide as the tree is high. Do not to plant a birch next to any structures, sidewalks or driveways.
Test your soil with a home test kit, or have it tested by your local county extension office. Birch trees need slightly acidic (pH 5.0 to 6.5) soil. Use sulfur to amend neutral soil. Alkaline soils are not suitable for birch trees. The amendments in alkaline soils will not last long and your birch tree will subsequently suffer mineral deficiency and likely die.
Dig a hole twice the circumference of and just as deep as the container your birch tree is currently growing in.
Set aside half of the soil and mix it with an equal amount of aged compost.
Remove the birch tree from its container. Take care not to damage its roots.
Set the birch tree into the hole so that the root ball is slightly above the surrounding soil. You may have to backfill a bit of soil to accomplish this. Fill the hole with enough of the amended soil to cover half the root ball.
Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain.
Finish backfilling the hole with soil, but do not cover the root ball with more than 1 inch of soil. Pat the soil down with your hands to remove any air pockets.
Water the planting area. Thoroughly soak the soil by running a slow hose around the planting area. The soil, to the depth of the root ball, should remain quite moist until the tree establishes itself and produces new growth.
Spread a 4-inch layer of organic mulch around the planting area, but keep the mulch at least 6 inches away from the trunk. This will help the soil remain cool and retain water.