How to grow silver birch trees

Updated April 17, 2017

Also known as European birch or Betula pendula, silver birch is a popular landscape ornamental tree because of its attractive white bark. However, they require higher maintenance than other trees because of their susceptibility to the bronze birch borer, birch leaf miner, and other insect pests and fungi. They require watering during dry weather and regular fertilisation. Native to the UK, silver birch trees grow best in moist, well-drained soil with full sun but they do not tolerate high summer heat well.

Dig a hole with the shovel so that it is the same depth but twice the circumference of the root ball of the silver birch tree.

Loosen the roots around the outside of the root ball and place it in the hole.

Refill the hole and amend the dirt with a small amount of the fertiliser, depending on the quality of the soil. Young silver birch trees develop stronger root systems when provided with extra phosphorus.

Water the tree deeply after planting with enough water to keep the soil moist afterwards. Once the tree is established it should require watering only if there is a long dry period but make sure it does not get water-logged, which may result in root rot.

Spread a ring of mulch around the tree, leaving a gap between the mulch and the trunk so that pests do not have easy access.

Fertilise the silver birch tree once a year after the first year to help keep it strong and healthy. This helps it resist insect and fungal infestations.

Prune silver birches sparingly, removing only dead or diseased branches, to avoid weakening the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • High-phosphorus fertiliser (optional)
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About the Author

Heather Lindsay is a stained glass artist who holds a master's degree in library science, a bachelor's degree in anthropology with a minor in art, and has enjoyed working in special libraries with photograph collections.