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Silver birch close to house

jaffacakesjaffacakes IrelandPosts: 408
Hi all, i am currently bidding on a new house built around 1980 with a nice mature garden. It has 2 lovely Silver Birches which must have been planted around the same time. 1 is at the end of a 20 meter garden so is not of much concern but another is around 3 or 4 meters from the house and is almost the height of the 2 story building. Do you think this silver birch so close would be worrying?

It is lovely and i'd hate to lose it. I heard they don't take well to pruning now but hopefully it is almost at a mature size that no pruning would be needed.

Another thing is the garden is north east facing which is a bit disappointing but i have seen the house 3 times now and even at 6pm in the evening, the garden gets sun at the very end from the west which seems be a bonus seating area to enjoy the sun.


  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 2,464
    If you Google this there are many helpful listings.
    The main concern is insuring your building with a tall tree that close. 
    If they don't want to lose the sale I would ask them to get it removed as part of your purchase contract.
  • jaffacakesjaffacakes IrelandPosts: 408
    Thank you. Oh wow. So you really think it would need to be removed? I didn't think about insurance or about disclosing the tree to them. I would rather keep the tree if at all possible as it provides privacy and it looks lovely from the french doors inside the house.
  • jaffacakesjaffacakes IrelandPosts: 408
    According to below link the minimum safe distance for a birch is 4 meters. I just measured the distance on google earth and it appears to be 4 meters. Hopefully will be ok :smile:
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 7,058
    I'm sorry to say that birch trees can get to 40/50 ft or more, we have one planted in the 1970's we think on the verge outside our boundary (the Council's responsibility) which is less than 3 metres from our bedroom window. The Council have refused to take it down and fortunately I hope, the prevailing wind comes from the west so if it did fall, then it should fall away from the house (fingers crossed) and if did damage the house/fence etc the Council should pay up.  Birches are shallow rooted and take an awful lot of water from the surrounding soil.  Most insurance companies will ask you if there are any trees, what variety and how tall etc in the proposal form which you must answer honestly otherwise they will dispute liability in the event of a claim.

    The other thing to consider is the maintenance aspect. Silver birches shred a lot of debris all year round, pollen in the spring and leaves in the autumn. I need to (but don't
    sweep the paving our side of the boundary nearly every day, all year round. 

    My advice would be to negotiate a £1000 reduction in price and regretfully have the tree removed. It's too tall and much too close to the house.  If you then wanted to, you could replace it with another birch (a multi-stemmed kind would be better) or a smaller tree, planted further away from the house to give you the privacy you want. 
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,502
    You won’t have any problem insuring - I haven’t.

    Yes they shed a lot of leaves, and after ten years with it is huge and it’s a bit of a pain I may get rid of it one way or another.

    Negotiating a discount?  They’d laugh all the way to the next buyer around the parts.
  • jaffacakesjaffacakes IrelandPosts: 408
    Thanks for the advise. We are currently only bidding on it against another bidder so price reduction probably not possible :( Hopefully no more price increases though as we are highest bidder now and possibly will be accepted next week. I guess the safest option would to look into having it removed.
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,009
    Native Silver birches are not really suitable trees for an urban garden - they grow too tall(50-80ft) and never look good when pruned. I would take it out and put something more manageable in its place. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,016
    I cut one down at my old house, it then sent up five new shoots and made a nice multistem.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • You could try some insurance quotes before you offer to check how expensive it'll be. Our neighbours have one in the front garden that's more than double the height of the house. It does make a mess in autumn but so do all deciduous trees. 

    If you do buy it I'd get advice before cutting it down anyway. I've heard that cutting mature trees down can cause bigger problems as the ground can swell with water that the tree would have sucked up.

    The north east aspect would put me off if the garden was small but if its 20 metres some of it should be sunny. Ours is south facing and we still don't get sun after 7 due to the neighbour's trees.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 7,058
    Good luck with the bid - let us know how you get on.
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