Paper Birch Trees
The Paper Birch tree, Betula papyrifera, is a vigorous, medium sized tree that will grow in most fertile soils, except chalk. It needs full sun. Mature trees have beautiful peeling bark and a neat, narrow canopy. Older trees develop attractive, peeling layers of bark.
Paper Birch trees can reach a height of about 20 metres.
Standard trees are the largest size that we deliver; you can also buy younger Paper Birch saplings here.
How Standard Trees are Measured:
All the plants in the ornamental trees section are graded as standards, which means that they are measured by their girth in centimetres 1 metre above ground level (basically, their trunk's waist measurement). They aren't measured by their height, which will vary. So, a 6/8 standard has a trunk with a circumference of 6-8 centimetres and an 8/10 standard has a trunk 8-10 centimetres around. This measurement makes no difference to the tree's final height.
Standard trees are 2 - 3.5 metres tall (on average) when they arrive; they are the most mature trees that you can buy from us. We cannot tell you precisely how tall your trees will be before we deliver them.
General description of Paper Birch trees:
The gorgeous peeling bark effect begins to appear on wood that is over 5 years old; young bark is a ruddy brown colour. The mature bark is creamy-white on the outside with a faint orange hue on the inside.
Paper birch is vigorous and loves growing on wet sites. The autumn colour is a pleasing deep orange.
Like all members of the birch family, these are relatively short lived trees that don't live much past 80 years old.
History & uses of Betula papyrifera
The waterproof bark is still used by Native Americans to make traditional canoe hulls. In the past, it would have been used for many other things, such as roof slats, rain-proof capes and hats, buckets and other vessels. Thin strips of the peeling bark can be used to make crude sunglasses and its oil content makes it superb tinder for lighting a fire. The wood will burn well even when it is fresh, but it isn't ideal for regular home use because it produces lots of tar that clogs up the chimney.
It is a good tree to plant on loose soil and riverbanks to prevent erosion because it grows rapidly and has quite a matted root system.