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How to Plant a Birch Tree Cluster

birch trees image by Calin Tatu from

Birch trees are deciduous, ornamental trees that are easily recognized by their handsome white bark. They can grow to 45 to 50 feet tall, depending on the variety. Birch trees have delicate, saw-toothed edged, triangular-shaped leaves, and in winter they reproduce by dropping cone-shaped clusters of seeds. No matter the time of year, birch trees are an attractive addition to any garden.

Cultivate the soil in the planting area for the birch tree cluster down to a depth of 16 to 20 inches deep. Make sure the area you are planning on planting the birch tree cluster in gets full sun and is not within 25 feet of any buildings, or where there is any underground piping.

Spread a 4- to 5-inch layer of aged compost or manure over the planting area. Work the organic matter into the soil thoroughly using a garden fork or a shovel. Then, rake the area smooth and even using a metal rake.

Dig three planting holes in a triangular shape that are similar to the size of containers the birch trees are currently growing in. If they are growing in 1-gallon containers, dig the planting holes approximately 16 to 18 inches deep and about 10 to 12 inches in diameter. If they are growing in 5-gallon containers, dig the holes to a depth of 24 to 30 inches deep and 16 to 18 inches in diameter. Space each of the planting holes 6 to 8 feet apart from one another.

Remove a birch tree from its current growing container. Put the container sideways on the ground. Take some of the weight off the container by lifting the birch tree at the base of its stem. With your other hand, use a stout piece of wood or a hammer and tap in a downwards motion along the rim of the container. Remove the container from the root ball once the container is loose.

Place a timed-release fertilizer into the bottom of each of the planting holes and mix it into the soil thoroughly. Use 10-10-10 or a similar type fertilizer. Read the instructions provided by the manufacturer so you will know how much fertilizer to use. Then, scoop in a few shovelfuls of soil over the fertilizer.

Set a birch tree into one of the previously created planting holes. Make sure the top of the root ball of each birch tree is sitting about an inch higher than the surrounding topsoil. Hold the birch tree vertical in the planting hole. Scoop in soil until the planting hole is about 2/3 full. Tamp the soil down in the planting hole using your foot. Scoop in more soil to fill the remainder of the hole with soil.

Spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the birch tree cluster. You can use grass clippings, leaf mold, compost or other similar material. Water each of the birch trees using a slow, steady stream of water, so it can soak down to the root system.

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