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How to prune silver birch trees

Updated February 21, 2017

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Warning

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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Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gardening gloves

About the Author

Bailey Shoemaker Richards is a writer from Ohio. She has contributed to numerous online and print publications, including "The North Central Review." Shoemaker Richards also edits for several independent literary journals and the Pink Fish Press publishing company. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Ohio University.

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