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How to Plant White Birch Trees

By Elton Dunn ; Updated September 21, 2017
White birch blend into the winter landscape.

The paper birch tree will brighten up your landscape with its thin white bark and bright yellow fall foliage. This is the classic white birch tree that inspired writers like Robert Frost. Paper birch or Betula papyrifera is suited to hardiness zones 2 through 6 and does not fare well in warmer climates. The white or paper birch can grow up to 60 feet tall and spread up to 35 feet wide, so take mature size into consideration when planting a paper birch.

Locate a suitable site on the north or east side of your home which receive natural protection from afternoon sun. The ideal site for a white birch will have cool and moist soil but allow the tree to receive morning sun on its leaves, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Test your soil with a pH kit. Birch trees prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.0 to 6.5, according to the USDA. Amend your soil by adding sulfur to make it more acidic. A soil with a pH of 8.0 will need 1/2 lb. of sulfur to get down to 5.5, for example.

Dig a hole for your birch sapling that's twice as large as the tree's root ball. Remove any sticks or rocks from the hole. Tap your shovel at the bottom of the hole to break up the soil.

Remove the white birch sapling from its container and break up the root ball with your fingers. Untangle any crossed roots. Place the white birch tree in the hole and spread the roots out with your fingers. The tree should be vertically straight and sitting at the same depth in the ground as it was in the container.

Fill in the hole with soil. Water the white birch until the soil is compressed around the tree and is sodden.


Things You Will Need

  • pH kit
  • Sulfur (optional)
  • White birch sapling
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • Lay mulch around the base of your tree in a 3-foot circle. This helps keep moisture in the soil and reduces soil compaction.

About the Author


A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.