Silver birch(Betula pendula)

Is a classic tree that has been grown around parts of Australia for years for its weeping habit that doesn’t get too wide and can fit into alot of gardens. Its features will add colour and texture to the garden all year round.

Silver birch is an excellent deciduous tree for a cool temperate garden where there is adequate moisture especially in summer. It is grown as a feature tree eventually reaching up to 10m x 6m in size with a graceful, slightly weeping appearance. Silver birch can also be grouped together as a copse of three or more closely planted trees to form a slender group or woodland.

It is admired for its white bark, small serrated green leaves and yellow autumn colour. Birch trees produce male and female catkins in spring rather than showy flowers and is wind pollinated. Trees grow easily from seed, which are winged and dispersed in autumn.

It is native to parts of Europe and Asia but is grown in gardens around the world. Silver birch grows well with camellias, azaleas and spring-flowering bulbs, especially bluebells and daffodils. In warmer areas grow the more heat tolerant river or tropical birch (B. nigra).

Growing conditions

Aspect Silver birch needs a bright, sunny location. It will grow in lightly shaded conditions. To reduce stress in summer it is best planted with shelter from hot westerly sun.

Soil Best with moist acidic soil. Before planting add home-made compost and organic matter and/or Seasol Super Compost. Check the soil beneath the tree every season and remove weeds. A planting underneath such as hellebores or native violets will help prevent weeds and give colour in winter when the tree is bare. Apply Seasol Plant + Soil Booster to rejuvenate soil health and improve moisture and nutrient content. It also aids healthy plant growth.

Climate Silver birch prefers a cool temperate climate and is frost tolerant. It does particularly well in cool to mild conditions but will also tolerate a warm temperate location.

How to grow and look after silver bircb for a stunning foliage tree including soil, planting, and feeding
How to grow and look after silver bircb for a stunning foliage tree including soil, planting, and feeding

General care

Watering Water regularly especially through summer or in prolonged dry periods to encourage good growth.

Feeding and mulching Silver birch can be fed via your preferred method, either liquid or granular food or a combination of both. Keep plants growing well with a granular fertiliser such as Seasol plus Nutrients All Purpose including Natives every 6 to 8 weeks during the growing season. Spread under the drip line of the tree (the area at the edge of the foliage canopy) as this is where the feeder roots are located. Remember to water it in thoroughly after application. If you prefer liquid feeding, apply PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives every 2 to 4 weeks during the growing season, around the drip line of the tree’s canopy.

Mulch with organic mulch such as leaf mulch (keep mulches away from the tree trunk).

Pruning Naturally elegant with a central leader. Little pruning is needed. If it is in a narrow spot, you might want to remove the lower branches for ease of access or weeding under.

Watch out This plant has few pest or disease problems but may be attacked by aphids in spring. Possums and some parrots may also damage growth particularly in spring. Branches can be broken in strong winds.