How to prune silver birch trees

Written by bailey shoemaker richards
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How to prune silver birch trees
Silver birch trees have a distinctive bark. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The silver birch tree is a popular garden and landscaping tree. It's also known as the white birch because of its light-coloured bark, which is its most characteristic feature. The bark flakes and peels as the silver birch tree grows. The trees are slender and can grow as tall as 15 m (50 feet). Raising a silver birch tree successfully requires knowledge of how to keep the tree healthy and growing. This includes tending to the soil as well as occasional pruning.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gardening gloves

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  1. 1

    Prune the birch tree in early spring to avoid damaging the tree once it's begun to bud or produce leaves.

  2. 2

    Examine all of the branches for signs of insect damage. Birch borers are problematic insects; they leave holes in the branches and can weaken or kill the tree. Cut off any branches that show signs of insect damage.

  3. 3

    Check the tree for dead or dying branches and cut them off at the base to avoid spreading rot to the rest of the tree.

  4. 4

    Look for branches that threaten to unbalance the tree due to excessive size. Remove branches that interfere with the balance or appearance of the silver birch tree.

Tips and warnings

  • Silver birch trees should receive minimal pruning, as they produce excess sap from cut wounds, and this can weaken or kill the tree if too many branches are removed.

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