How Fast Does a Paper Birch Grow?

Also called the white birch, canoe birch or silver birch, the Paper birch (Betula papyrifera) thrives in mixed forests. Compared to other varieties, this fast-growing tree has a short lifespan and rarely lives longer than 140 years.

Growth Rate

Paper birch seedlings are fragile and germinate most readily in shaded areas in soil that is high in minerals, but they grow taller more quickly in soil that is rich in organic matter, such as the humus that is found on the forest floor. Seedlings grown under these circumstances are about 4 1/2 inches tall at the end of the first growing season.


Paper birches experience most of their growth while they are young, with some trees' trunks measure 8 inches in diameter after 30 years. Growth rate falls off as the trees age, and in mature trees between 60 and 70 years old, is no longer noticeable.


Paper birch is a medium to fast grower, which means that it can experience between 13 to 25 feet of vertical growth per year or more. This growth rate depends on soil type, drainage, weather conditions and sun exposure.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Rachel Lovejoy has been writing professionally since 1990 and currently writes a weekly column entitled "From the Urban Wilderness" for the Journal Tribune in Biddeford, Maine, as well as short novellas for Amazon Kindle. Lovejoy graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.