How to Grow Birch Trees

Overview

A birch tree (betula) is a deciduous, ornamental tree that is revered for its delicate foliage and unique white bark. Of the many varieties of birch trees, one of the most commonly planted deciduous tree in the Western Hemisphere is the European white birch (betula pendula). The European white birch is native to regions in Europe and across Russia. It can reach a height of 50 feet and is hardy in USDA zones 2 to 7. To successfully grow a birch tree requires selecting the proper variety for your growing region and providing it with good mulch and plenty of water.

Step 1

Scout out a location in your garden for planting the birch tree. This is particularly important since birch trees need cool, moist soil and full sun for best growth. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one of the best places for planting a birch tree is on the east or north side of a home where the structure can provide some afternoon shade.

Step 2

Dig a planting hole for the birch tree that is twice the width but the same depth of its growing container. If the birch tree is balled-and-burlapped (this is where the root system of a tree is encased in burlap), dig the planting hole three times the width and approximately the same depth of the root system.

Step 3

Mix into the soil that you removed from the planting hole approximately 1/2 cubic feet of an organic matter. You can use leaf compost, aged manure or any other similar material. A soil amendment is particularly important if the soil in your garden is clay-like or has less than ideal drainage.

Step 4

Remove the birch tree from its growing container. Lay the container horizontally on the ground, or on a potting bench. Use a hammer and strike downward at the base of the container to slide the container off the root system.

Step 5

Inspect the root ball of the container-grown birch tree. Loosen any ensnared roots using your fingers. Set the birch tree into the planting hole. If the root system is encased in burlap, set the birch tree directly into the planting hole. Then, peel back half of the burlap to expose the root ball.

Step 6

Scoop in a few shovelfuls of garden soil into the planting hole. Make sure at this point the birch tree is not planted too deeply in the planting hole. Ideally it should be planted in the soil at the same level it is currently growing at.

Step 7

Fill the planting hole 1/2 full of soil. Water the birch tree until the planting hole is about 2/3 full of water. Scoop in soil to fill the planting hole full once the water has dissipated. Spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch that is at least 3 feet in diameter around the birch tree. Use wood chips, shredded bark or leaf compost. Make sure the mulch does not come in contact with the trunk of the birch tree. Give the birch tree a good watering using a slow, steady stream of water.

Things You'll Need

  • Birch tree
  • Shovel
  • Soil amendment
  • Hammer
  • Mulch

References

  • United States Department of Agriculture: Growing Birch Trees
  • Floridata.com: Betula Pendula
  • Sunset's Plant Finder: Birch Trees

Who Can Help

  • United States National Arboretum: Planting Zones
Keywords: growing birch trees, planting and growing birch trees, betula trees

About this Author

Katelyn Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She also has extensive experience in botany and horticulture. Lynn has been writing articles for various websites relating to health and wellness since 2007. She has been published on gardenguides.com. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in alternative medicine from Everglades University.