Exotic Rare Betula pendula silver birch, Weeping White Birch Seeds, Organic B25

  • Sale
  • Regular price $3.49

Silver birch (Betula pendula) is a fast-growing, medium-sized deciduous tree, characterized by whitebark and pendulous branches. The tree is quite similar to the downy birch (Betula pubescens) but does not have hairy leaves and shoots. Silver birch is located across Europe, from the Mediterranean to central Siberia. Its natural range is further south than that of downy birch and the species is mostly found at higher altitudes.

Betula pendula, commonly known as silver birch, warty birch, European white birch, or East Asian white birch, is a species of tree in the family Betulaceae, native to Europe and parts of Asia, though, in southern Europe, it is only found at higher altitudes

Count: ~ 25
Sun Exposure Full sun from an early age Light shade when young Name: silver birch (Betula pendula). Height: eventually 8m+ with age. Foliage: deciduous. Climate: cold temperate, warm temperate. Soil: Prefers deep, well-drained soil. Position: full sun but will tolerate light shade. Flowering and fruiting: small cylindrical seed clusters. Feeding: Regular feeding with a balanced, controlled-release fertilizer. Watering: silver birch requires reliable watering, especially during hot and dry periods.

They are easy to grow and if properly looked after they will grow quickly for the first few years, with the growth of up to 6ft per year. Silver Birch is very attractive in all seasons with soft green lacy foliage creating dappled shade in the summer. In the autumn the foliage turns gold and in winter you have a brilliant white trunk with red hanging branches.

Silver birch is among the most commercially important trees in northern Europe, having a wide variety of uses. The tree’s pale-colored wood is used for carpentry and plywood production, as well as for pulp and fuelwood. Some varieties produce a certain curly wood used for veneer and smaller handicrafts. The tree is a pioneer species, useful for reforestation projects and soil protection. The tree’s young branches are also used as fodder for cattle, while the leaves and bark are valued for medicinal purposes.

Silver birch is an essential component of temperate and boreal forests, where a large number of insects and fungi are dependent on its presence.

The species thrives on fairly fertile and well-drained soils and is able to tolerate a broad range of site conditions and poor soils; however, it is sensitive to long periods of drought.

Growing Info: Scarification: none required. Stratification: cold stratify for 60 days. Germination: requires light for germination, surface sow, and keep moist. Other: stratification may be used instead of surface sowing, it is better to surface sow if possible.

How to germinate silver birch seeds Birch seeds are relatively easy to germinate and grow. The dormancy within the seed is short and easily broken. This is achieved by a short period of cold stratification in the fridge. You can do this by first soaking the seeds in water for 24 hours. Fully drain away all of the water and place the seeds in a zip-lock freezer bag. Place the seeds in the fridge, it is important that during this period that the seeds do not dry out or are waterlogged otherwise the pre-treatment will be ineffective.

After between 4 and 6 weeks under these conditions, the seeds are ready to be sown. In general, many seeds will fail to germinate unless treated in this way, simply sowing untreated seeds in compost at room temperature will not break down the dormancy and germination will be disappointing. You can also choose to mix the seed with moistened vermiculite, fine perlite, or sand. These help to stop the seeds from clumping together and allow more between the seeds.

Mix the seeds with a little moist horticultural sand and place them in loosely tied plastic bags in the bottom of a fridge (not the freezer!). Four weeks at low temperatures for moist birch seed improves the speed and evenness of germination. Aim to sow during April on seedbeds or in a pot (5-10 seeds per pot and remove all but the strongest seedling). Cover the seed with only 1-2mm coarse horticultural sand or grit. It is important that the seed is not covered too thickly as this could prevent germination. Firm the seeds gently.

Fill your chosen container with a good quality general potting compost and firm it down well. Suitable containers could be plant pots, seed trays or plug trays, or even improvised containers with drainage holes. Firm the compost gently and sow the seeds on the surface, if you have pretreated your seeds without any vermiculite/perlite etc the seeds will be difficult to separate from each other. If you add a little dry sand at this point and mix thoroughly you will find that the sand separates the seed and makes it much easier to sow. Cover the seeds with a couple of millimeters of vermiculite or failing that a fine layer of sieved compost. Follow with a gentle watering and keep them at room temperature. Germination will begin a few weeks following sowing.

The seedlings are very small and delicate, they need to be kept out of the hot sun until the first true leaves emerge. Shading and a moist seedbed are very important for successful germination. Seedling growth can be very rapid and has produced Birch seedlings over 1 meter tall in their first growing season, although heights of 20-50cm are more usual. It is preferable to produce shorter, stocky, well-branched seedlings rather than long leggy ones. These can only be grown if the sowing density is relatively low.

Keep the seedlings well watered and free from competing weeds. Growth will accelerate in the second and subsequent years and the developing young trees should be planted in their permanent position usually by the end of their second year. Large trees of these species do not transplant well and should only be moved during the dormant season.

How to propagate silver birch Sow the seeds into pots or trays of seed raising mix. Keep the mix damp, and little trees should appear in no time at all.

How to plant and grow a silver birch Following pretreatment in the fridge, silver birch seeds should germinate rapidly. Feed regularly with a liquid fertilizer until August to encourage growth. It would not be unreasonable to expect up to 30 inches of growth in the first year, but the plants can be left in the pots for another year, provided they are fed regularly whilst they are actively growing (April-September). Winter is the ideal time to plant out your silver birch, but you can do it at other times of the year, too, provided it is not going to be too hot. Prepare the site well by clearing away any weeds or grass and making a hole big enough to accommodate the root ball. Plant carefully in the hole, to the same depth as it was in the pot, and firm back the soil. Choose a spot that is going to be out of hot winds, as these can scorch the leaves. The silver birch is frost tolerant. Make sure the site is prepared well and lots of compost has been added to the soil. Fan the roots out gently across the hole and plant the tree so that the soil is at the same height or slightly higher than the potting mix was when it was in its pot. Water it well.

Caring tips Silver birch is a water lover, and you need to guarantee it water in the drier months. In drier parts of the country, you might even consider installing a small irrigation system to keep the soil damp.

How and when to prune silver birch Silver birch needs no real pruning, except to ensure it has a straight main trunk, and this is usually not necessary as the nursery has done it for you. If it is in a narrow spot, you might want to remove the lower branches for ease of access or weeding under.

Diseases and pests Another reason the silver birch is popular is that it rarely suffers from diseases or pests. Check your tree every now and then and address any problems if they arise.

FAQ Do birch seeds need stratification? Stratification of birch seeds is not necessary if they are sown in the fall. And fall-sown seeds often germinate early in the spring- sometimes even before the soil can be prepared for spring sowing. This early start provides a longer growing season. For these reasons, many nurserymen prefer fall sowing.