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Birch Paper Bark (Betula papyrifera) 1Birch Paper Bark (Betula papyrifera) 1Birch Paper Bark (Betula papyrifera) 2Birch Paper Bark (Betula papyrifera) 3Birch Paper Bark (Betula papyrifera) 4

Paper-Bark / White Birch Saplings

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The details

Betula papyrifera

Sapling Trees
  • Peeling, creamy bark.
  • Not for hedging. Good screening.
  • Sizes: Saplings & Standards.
  • Max. Height: 25m
  • Bareroot Delivery Only: Nov-Mar.
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£ 4.48

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Betula papyrifera: Bareroot Sapling Paper Birch Trees

Delivered by Mail Order Direct from our Nursery with a Year Guarantee

Paper Birch, Betula papyrifera, has ornamental peeling bark when it is mature. The young bark is a ruddy brown colour. After 5 years or so, it matures, turns pale grey-white and begins to peel, revealing a mild orange-pink tint as it does so.
The autumn leaves are a deep, warm orange that goes well with the pale bark.
Paper Birch is not suitable for a clipped hedge. The habit is quite tidy, narrow and upright, suitable for medium-sized garden. It can be grown as a screening tree up to about 25 metres high.

The plants on this page are young saplings. You can also buy larger Paper Birch trees in standard sizes.
Browse all of our other varieties of Birch trees, or our full range of hedging.

Delivery season: Birches are delivered bareroot during late autumn and winter, approximately November-March inclusive.
Choosing a size: Small plants are cheaper 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 ornamental 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 sapling trees are measured by their height in centimetres above the ground (the roots aren't measured).


  • Height: 25m
  • Tidy, narrow, upright habit
  • Use: Screening, waterside. Not suitable for hedging.
  • Warm orange Autumn colour
  • Soil: Moist, fertile. Dislikes chalk
  • Bareroot delivery only: Nov-March

Growing Paper Birch

It will grow on most reasonably fertile soils apart from chalk, and it likes damp sites near water. It requires close to full sun.

Did You Know?

The oily, waterproof bark was used extensively by the Native Americans for a wide range of products, including paper, canoes, and baskets. The wood is flexible and quite strong, so it was great for spears and sleds. It rots quickly without protection, however.

It is good firewood (the bark is also very handy for lighting fires) and well suited to smoking fish, but it is best to season it for a couple of years to reduce the amount of tar that it produces. It burns hot.

Common Names: Paperbark Birch, Canoe Birch, American White Birch

Planting Instructions

Notes on planting Paper Birch:
Paper Birch will grow well in most averagely fertile soils. It needs full sun.
It isn't ideal for exposed locations, where it will be shaped by strong winds.
It will not grow well if the site is shady, chalky or poorly fertile.

Prepare your site before planting:
It is good to dig over the area where you intend to plant several months in advance. Destroy the weeds first: nettles, brambles and ground elder are tough and a glyphosate based weed-killer is the best way to remove them. Then dig the soil over; remove rocks, roots and other rubbish. Mix in well rotted compost or manure down to the depth of about 2 spades.
If you have a heavy clay soil, it might be too difficult to dig over for most of the year. Heavy clay is fertile soil, so you don't really need to improve it; killing the weeds is still necessary.

Remember to water establishing plants during dry weather for at least a year after planting.

Planting accessories:
Prepare your site for planting by killing the weeds and grass with Neudorff WeedFree Plus.
If you are planting in an area with rabbit and/or deer, you will need to use a protective plastic spiral for each plant, supported by a bamboo cane.
If your soil quality is poor, we recommend using mycorrhizal "friendly fungi" on the roots of new trees and shrubs.
You can also improve your soil with bonemeal organic fertiliser and Growmore.

After you plant your Paper Birch trees, the most important thing to do is water them in dry weather. You will also need to weed around the plants. Both of these will be necessary for at least a year after planting.
Water thoroughly but not too often: let the soil get close to drying out before watering your plants again.

If possible, do not prune your trees.

Special notes on caring for Paper Birch:
Paper Birch is a very tough plant that shouldn't need special attention once it has established. If pruning is necessary, it is best do it in winter. Always hire a tree surgeon to remove large branches.
If your soil is on the poor side, mulch around your trees yearly with well-rotted manure or compost.

Hygiene & Diseases:
Dead, damaged or diseased wood can be pruned off as soon as it appears.
Disinfect your pruning tools between every cut if there is any sign of disease.
Burn or dispose of any diseased material, do not compost it.