SN: Betula papyrifera
This popular tree is remarkable for its papery white bark. It is found in cooler locations across the continent. Generally a medium-size tree, paper birch grows to about 40 feet in height. In good conditions it can reach 75 feet or more. The bark is reddish brown on younger plants, becoming creamy white with dark horizontal lines called lenticels in the third or fourth year. The bark peels back readily, revealing a reddish orange inner bark. Its deciduous leaves are dark green and lightly toothed, becoming golden in the fall. The catkins offer little special interest.
When to Plant?
Transplant Birch trees in the spring for best results.
Where to plant?
Take your lead from nature on how to use and where to plant these trees. They prefer woodland-type settings. Grow Birches in full sun or partial shade, with moist, well-drained soil. These growing conditions are especially important in southern Minnesota, where the summers can be too warm for this plant. Use Birches as specimen or shade plants. Plant them en masse to create a northern woodland in your backyard or include Birches in planting beds. The beds provide an attractive setting and healthy environment for the Birch trees. Plant the tree where you can enjoy the attractive bark year-round. Place it in front of an evergreen for an even better show.
How to Plant
Locate the tree’s root flare. Plant the tree with the root flare at or slightly above the soil line. Dig a shallow planting hole the same depth as and three to five times wider than the root system. Place the tree in the planting hole. Remove the container, twine, and metal baskets. Cut away the burlap. Fill the hole with existing soil. Water to settle the soil and mulch.