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Planting birch in patio

Does anyone have any experience of planting a tree in a patio? We’re having our patio re done and I want to plant 2 Himalayan birch trees (will be kept pruned to 6m) in a ‘hole’ in the patio. Like the pics attached. They’ll be about 3 to 4 m from the house. 


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,516
    Birch trees have very shallow, spreading roots. I wouldn’t do it unless you want to relay your patio every five years or so. 🙂
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • Ah this was my concern. Hmmm. 
  • The other option id thought of is notching the patio like this… probably better? 

  • UffUff Posts: 3,199
    Have you thought about the shade they would create for your garden and possibly your neighbours? 
    SW SCOTLAND but born in Derbyshire
  • I have and it’s ok. We are terribly overlooked, have huge shade already from neighbouring oak trees so it really isn’t an issue from that perspective. Plus we will keep them pruned quite short 
  • UffUff Posts: 3,199
    That was another thing I was going to mention, they grow quite tall and the spread is quite wide x two. Lovely trees.
    SW SCOTLAND but born in Derbyshire
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 1,928
    They do look good in those two photos @steven.g.garner, I can see what draws you!  If you included a root barrier in the planting hole, this would limit their root growth and height and reduce the risk of damage to your patio - a bit like growing them in large containers. 

    Just one further thought though, being a bit keen on a well maintained patio myself, please forgive me for stating the obvious, trees drop leaves, litter and sap and attract wildlife such as birds and squirrels who can spoil your lovely patio! 
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 10,784
    edited January 2022
    I can vouch for what Plantminded says. We have two 15 metre (50 ft) birch trees (not ours) that overhang our courtyard. I usually have to sweep it most days. They continually drop leaves, catkins, twigs and seeds in succession all year round. In a bad storm they drop larger but thin branches. It's a real pain. Lovely trees but in the wrong place and left to get much too tall.

    To maintain them at about 6 metres you will need to employ specialist tree firms which won't come cheap.

    A better idea if you're really determined is to plant them in very big planters which might restrict their roots and height.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • Thanks guys. I have been keeping an eye on what drops from a neighbours and have considered this but I think I’m prepared to tackle the upkeep. I did consider a magnolia also, but it really want some sun to penetrate which I think is tough with the big leafed grandiflora. Very happy to grab any suggestions though!
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