Silver Birch Large Trees
- Native. Prefers damp soil.
- Silver-white Bark. Small diamond leaves.
- Other Sizes: Bareroot Saplings.
- Max. Height: 20m
- Bareroot Delivery: Nov-Mar
Betula pendula: Bareroot Silver Birch Trees in Standard Sizes
The Common Silver Birch tree, Betula pendula, is a handsome, vigorous, slender, medium-sized British native. The pale, near-white bark of mature trees is a lovely feature throughout the year; it is relatively smooth and peels over time, which keeps it looking white and bright. Older trees develop dark ridges as they matures, especially at the base.
The light, feathery canopy of supple, leafy stems hanging from the main branches flutters and sways in the breeze, only casting gentle dappled shade, so many plants can be grown underneath it.
Silver Birch catkins are yellow-green, appearing in early spring and are a valuable source of pollen for insects coming out of hibernation early.
In the right position, it can reach a height of about 25 metres.
Delivery season: Birches are delivered bareroot during late autumn and winter, approximately November-March inclusive.
Choosing a size: Small trees are cheaper, easier to handle and more forgiving of less than ideal aftercare, so they are best for a big planting project. If instant impact is your priority, or if you are only buying a few plants for use in a place where it is convenient to water them well in their first year, then you may as well use bigger ones. All our bareroot trees are measured by their height in centimetres above the ground (the roots aren't measured).
- Likes full sun.
- Any soil, preferably on the moist side.
- White bark provides year round interest.
- Casts relatively light shade.
- Height: Vigorous to 25m
- Bareroot Delivery Only, Nov-March
Growing Silver Birch
It is happy in most soils and prefers a sunny site, but will tolerate light shade. It is commonly found growing wild at the edge of a mature wood and in damp places that larger trees dislike.
Pruning should be kept to a minimum: it tends to spoil their shape, so just remove ill placed and broken or damaged branches in late Autumn, as pruning cuts bleed excessively in Spring and Summer.
Did You Know?
Known as the Lady of the Woods, it is one of the most native British trees: it was here before the last Ice Age and was one of the first trees to return from Europe when the ice pulled back from the soggy southern edge of the land that would become England. Its flexible, oily bark was invaluable to our ancestors, who used it for roofs, boats and even clothing. These days it is used for paper pulp and making high-grade charcoal for artists. It is good firewood, but it burns up quickly.
As trees go, the whole Birch family is short-lived: 80-100 years is a good age.
Other common names include bed wen, birk, and warty birch.
Standard trees are measured by their girth in centimetres 1 metre above ground level: their trunk's waist measurement. Unlike sapling trees and hedge plants, standards aren't measured by their height, which will vary quite a bit both between and within species.
So, a 6/8cm standard tree has a trunk with a circumference of 6-8cm and an 8/10 standard has a trunk 8-10cm around. This measurement makes no difference to the tree's final height.
On average, standard trees are 2-3.5 metres tall when they arrive, but we cannot tell you precisely how tall your trees will be before we deliver them.
Notes on planting Silver Birch trees:
Silver Birch trees will grow well in most soils, especially acidic ones. It prefers heavy clay and moist conditions; it will grow close to rivers and tolerates winter waterlogging. It is very hardy and although it will grow in exposed locations, it will get twisted by constant wind. It must have plenty of sun.
Silver Birch will not grow well on chalk.
Prepare your site before planting:
It is good to dig over the site where you plant a tree several months in advance. Kill the weeds first: for tough weeds like nettles, brambles and ground elder, you will usually need a weed-killer to get rid of them. When you dig the soil over, remove stones and other rubbish and mix in well rotted compost or manure down to the depth of about 2 spades.
Watch our video on how to plant a tree for full instructions.
Remember to water establishing trees during dry weather for at least a year after planting.
Tree Planting accessories:
Prepare your site for planting by killing the weeds and grass with Neudorff WeedFree Plus.
You can buy a tree planting pack with a wooden stake & rubber tie to support the tree and a mulch mat with pegs to protect the soil around the base of your tree from weeds and drying out.
We suggest that you use mycorrhizal "friendly fungi" on the roots of all newly planted large trees: if your soil quality is poor, we strongly recommend it.
You can also improve your soil with bonemeal organic fertiliser and Growmore.