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Growing Birch

Growing Birch



Birch is an attractive North American native tree grown for shade, screens, as specimen trees, and for winter interest. They are also good near ponds and in rain gardens. These trees are often grown as a multi-stemmed clump form. White birch is highly prized for its striking white bark. White birch is hardy in zones 3 to 8.

How To Plant

Plant bare root birch in spring 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost in a planting hole 12 to 18 inches wide and deep amended with compost or other organic matter. Set with the roots as deep as when grown in the nursery.

To create a clump planting, create a hole 24 to 36 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches deep and plant 3 trees in the hole, with each trunk angling slightly in a different direction.


For full sun to part shade and prefers moist, well-drained soils. Whitespire birch prefers cool climates and can be short-lived in hot, humid climates. Birch can be pruned in winter to shape plants, but should not be pruned in spring when the sap is flowing.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Birch is a moderate feeder that benefits from occasional fertilization. Use full rates of ALGOplus All Purpose 6-6-6 liquid fertilizer, Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1, or Osmocote slow-release 14-14-14.

Common Problems

Bronze birch borer is a serious pest of birch, but Whitespire is very resistant to this pest. Aphids, birch skeletonizer, and leaf miner sometimes affect plants. Plants can be prone to leaf yellowing from iron chlorosis in high pH soil conditions. Rose Shield can be used to treat leaf miners. Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew an be used for other insect pests.

Alternative Products

Other hardy trees with good winter interest include corylus, flowering crabapple, and Niobe weeping willow.

Product Recommendations

Hardy shrubs that provide winter interest include Neon Burst dogwood and rhododendron.

Birch Facts

Like Maples, birch trees can be tapped to produce syrup from their sap. t is a bronze birch borer resistant variety from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with attractive non-peeling white bark.


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