The white birch tree is a popular landscape tree. It is known for its beautiful leaves, distinctive paper-like barks, and cool shade it offers. Moreover, one does not need to take extensive care of these trees.
It is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree. It can grow up to a height of 70 to 80 feet, and lives only for about 140 years. It has small ear-shaped leaves at the ends of drooping branches and twigs.
Catkins are the male and female flowers of this tree. These catkins develop into nutlets that ripen in early August to mid September. They have wings so that they are easily carried away by air to far off places to germinate into trees.
The tree does not grow well in shade. It is the first tree that will grow in an area destroyed by fire or trees are cut off. The bark is a favorite food of porcupines and seedlings are eaten by rabbits. The yellow-bellied sapsuckers peck little wells in the bark to eat the sap. Squirrels, hummingbirds feed on the sap off the wells made by sapsuckers.
It is also used to make baskets, mats, and moose calls by Native Americans. Today, it is not only an ornamental plant but also used as a building lumber for making pulpwood, plywood, and veneer. The sap is used to make syrups, wine, beer, and medical tonics.
There are many types of birch trees that you can grow in your garden. The paper birch is a native Northern American tree that can grow in cold, moist, and other soil conditions. The paper white birch cannot tolerate too much heat and pollution. You need to grow the tree in an area receiving full sunlight. It can be grown in alkaline soil too.
As the tree needs ample water, you should plant in areas where soil is moist. You should place the mulch around the tree as it keeps the soil moist. It should be kept at a depth of 2 to 4 inches in a ring of 6 foot radius on mature tree and 3 inches in case of saplings. Avoid short watering sessions, instead provide the tree a long watering session weekly.