Birch tree cultivation

Does anyone has some advice on best practices for birch growing??? What kind of soil mix works best? Fertilizer habits??? Etc. ???
Got this new tree in my collection:


I have one seedling so far, so I haven’t done a lot besides just let it grow. It doesn’t seem to need much help with that, as it has doubled in height already this growing season (year two for this seedling).

I have been taking notes on birch for when I will need to worry about these things. It sounds like dropping branches is pretty common and one of the biggest things to worry about with birch.

A few months ago I came across this video of Ryan doing a critique of a show and at the very end he has a short conversation about birch and when to prune and wire. Sounds like he heard to do it in the hottest part of the summer. An audience member said he likes to do it in the dead of winter (as well as someone else saying they did it right before bud push like a typical deciduous tree). Link should take you to the right time, but if not its around the 1hr 8min mark.


Is it a River Birch? Betula nigra? Collected in US or Europe? They are naturally resistant to birch borers.
I lost all my white birch from borers 10 years ago. So be aware. :worried:

Very interesting pots in the video made with slabs held together with wire…

Hello Jurgen,
I have some birch trees and I notice bleeding when I prune before budpush. So I only prune when in leaf and stop in August so that shoots have time to harden before fall/winter.
Birch needs lots of water and fertilizer. But very important is also to keep removing big leaves so that light gets to the interior. Thus I have never had a problem with dieback so far.
Good luck with your birch!
Greetings Marco


It’s a sand paper birch! From a bonsai nursery in Germany

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Thank you all! Love the forum :star_struck:

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Never heard of sand paper birch. Do you have a Latin name for it? Only heard of paper birches that are native to North America. Alaska paper birch, mountain paper birch and paper birch. Love birches, stunning :evergreen_tree:!

I think @Marco_H is pretty spot on, partial defoliation to let light inside and you keep the branches alive. They bleed very heavily so i wouldn’t prune late vinter thru spring.

I believe the biggest reason you don’t see them as bonsai very often would be their short lifespan. But I guess outliving a bonsai that dies of natural causes would be a special feeling :slightly_smiling_face:.

@Alex sorry - Betula pendula :blush:


These pots are cool and made by Dean Bull, a friend of mine.

White Birch tend to get a lot of dieback without extra water in my experience. I have been cultivating some that I collected around 2014 and work with a few of the guys in this video.

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If you haven’t heard it yet, the Asymetry podcast with Dennis Vojtilla drops some good birch tidbits around the 44 minute mark.


Checked the podcast already and love it! Thx guys

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