Learn how to care for a birch tree along with its history and classification details.
Hardiness Zone: 2-9
Soil Type: Acidic
Sun Exposure: Partial sun
Annual or Perennial: Perennial
History: Birch or Beithe, is the first tree of the Ogham, the Celtic tree alphabet. It was celebrated during the festival of Samhain (what is now Halloween in Britain). Samhain was the start of the Celtic year, when purification was important and people used bundles of birch twigs to drive out the spirits of the old year.
How to Care for a Birch Tree
When is the best time to plant?
The best time to plant a birch tree is in spring or fall.
How do I propagate birch tree?
Birch can be propagated by stem or branch cuttings, root cuttings, grafting (budding and approach graft), and finally layering.
Can I grow a birch tree in a pot?
No, the birch tree will outgrow a pot and you want the roots to take hold in the ground for a long healthy life.
Do I need to fertilize a birch tree?
You want to fertilize a birch tree infrequently.
When does the birch tree bloom?
The birch tree will bloom in late May or early June.
How do I know when birch bark is ripe?
Paper birch has reddish-brown bark when young, but this becomes creamy white by the fourth year.
When do I harvest birch bark?
Bark should be removed only when it comes off easy, usually in the first part of the growing season (May through June). 3. A small vertical incision through the outer bark (slightly less than 90o to the tree) is all that is needed to peel the bark away.
What is the best way to store birch sap?
Fresh birch sap is highly perishable; even if refrigerated, it is stable for only up 7 days. Shelf life can be prolonged by freezing or preservation techniques.
Should I plant any companion plants?
Birch grows well with bugleweed (Ajuga reptans, USDA zones 3-10), hosta (Hosta spp. ), foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia, USDA zones 3-8), lilyturf (Liriope spp. ), tickseed (Coreopsis spp. ), and creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis, USDA zones 3-9).
What are the health benefits of the birch?
Birch can help with treating arthritis, achy joints (rheumatism), loss of hair, and skin rashes. Birch is also used in “Spring cures” for “purifying the blood.”
Birch Tree Meaning
The Birch tree symbolizes rebirth, new beginnings and growth.
The axe forgets what the tree remembers.