How to plant a birch tree

Updated February 21, 2017

Birch trees are cherished for their beauty and grace as well as for the fact that they grow quickly. For these reasons, many homeowners plant them in their landscapes. Unfortunately, birch trees are often planted in the wrong manner. If a birch tree is not planted correctly, it will decline rather quickly, often dying far before the lifespan of 20-40 years. Make sure you give your birch tree a healthy start by planting it correctly.

Select the proper location. Birch trees need cool, moist soil, but they also need full sunlight on their leaves. This can be a tricky thing to manage. A location on the east or north side of your home is best. In addition, see if you can find a spot by a retaining wall or other structure that casts shade on the soil but not on the foilage. In addition, make sure the soil is well-drained. Birch trees like moist, but not soggy soil.

Prepare the soil. Birch trees have shallow roots. They need loose soil that will not become compacted. If your soil is hard, like clay, mix it in with some good organic mulch. Birch trees also prefer soil that has a pH of 5.0 to 6.5. You can purchase a soil testing kit at any local garden centre.

Dig a hole that is three times as big as the ball of roots. Then, loosen the roots of the tree, and place it in the hole. Set it so that the first horizontal root is just below the surface of the hole. If it is above the surface, make the hole deeper.

Fill the hole halfway with topsoil, then water it thoroughly. Let the water settle, then fill the hole to the top, and water again.

Surround the tree with two to three inches of mulch. This will help keep the roots and soil moist and cool even when the sun is on the soil. Continue to water your tree as often as needed to keep the soil moist.


Birch trees grow tall and wide. Make sure your tree is not under overhead power lines, and is at least 20 feet from your house.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Soil testing kit
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