Common name and scientific name: Silver Birch, Betula pendula
Origin and natural range: Native to Europe and Asia Altitude range: The Silver Birch can grow from sea level to an altitude of 600m
Physical characteristics: The Silver Birch is a medium-sized, deciduous tree that can grow up to 30 meters tall. It has a distinctive white bark that peels and flakes, which gives the tree its common name. The leaves are small, triangular, and doubly-toothed. The tree produces small, drooping catkins in the spring.
Growth rate and lifespan: The Silver Birch has a fast growth rate and can live up to 50-70 years.
Growing conditions: The Silver Birch prefers well-drained soils, and can tolerate a variety of conditions such as full sun, partial shade, and dry or wet soils. It is frost hardy and can tolerate coastal exposure. The root system of this species is relatively shallow and can spread out widely, rather than growing deep into the soil. They typically grow to a depth of around 30-60 cm (1-2 ft), but can spread out as far as the canopy of the tree.
Flowering and fruiting: The Silver Birch flowers in spring, and produces small, triangular, winged nutlets in late summer. Uses and benefits: The Silver Birch is an ornamental tree, it is also used for hedging, it is an attractive tree for wildlife and it is used for erosion control and for reforestation projects
Planting instructions: The Silver Birch should be planted in a well-draining soil, in a location that receives full sun to partial shade. It is important to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Take into account that it has a shallow root system that typically grows to a depth of around 30-60 cm (1-2 ft) and it can spread out as far as the canopy of the tree. This should be taken into account when planting near foundations, sidewalks, or underground pipes. It’s recommended to plant a Silver Birch that is at least 1-2 years old and at least 1 meter in height. This ensures that the tree has a strong root system and is better able to establish itself in its new location.