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Silver birch with two leaders


Five years ago we topped a silver birch (I was young and foolish) and you can now see how it has grown, it has two leaders.
Is it okay to cut one of them off, any advice on how to do that so that the tree can recover and be healthy long term.
(and also which one to remove)



  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,471
    I’d leave it if it were mine. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 4,931
    I'd leave it too.  If you do decide to prune it, make sure you know which side branches are attached to what you're going to cut off, looking from different directions. The canopy might end up sparser or more uneven than you expect.
  • Lyn said:
    I’d leave it if it were mine. 
    I think that might be a common answer.
  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,048
    I agree too, leave them.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 12,060
    me too
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 74,737
    I agree … leave it … it’ll look lopsided if you take one out. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • I'm the same and wouldn't touch it unless it is going to grow to big. The one I have in the back garden looked similar to yours (it was a volunteer that appeared on my dogs grave so I was loath to remove it) and I cut the two main leaders back by as little as I could to keep the shape but promote more bushyness.This worked for a few years but it is still really to big for the space.  
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 693
    I'd leave it too. How tall are you going to let it grow? They grow to be whoppers and if you have a small garden you might have a problem in a few year's time. 
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 4,931
    There's a whopper in the front garden of the house across from us. It has had large branches lopped off it in an ugly way, and the seeds that it sheds all over are an absolute nuisance. It's a private rental property and I think the landlord did the minimum to keep it safe.
  • Its already a bit too big, and the roots are lifting the paving slabs, but I do like Silver Birch
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