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Young birch tree

AngieRAngieR Posts: 347



Please be gentle with me it's my first question on your wonderful forum although I have been hanging around in the background for quite sometime. image  I am quite the novice gardener when it comes to this kind of problem.

My young birch tree (Betula Crimson Frost) has suffered what I am presuming is wind damage.  The main stem/trunk, not that I'd call it a trunk quite yet, has snapped half way down the tree. Rightly or wrongly I had it tied every few inches to a sturdy cane for the last 18 months to stop this exact thing happening as it seemed to me to be a very fragile, brittle young tree.  

My questions are - will this break now encourage the young tree to branch outwards instead of upwards and ultimately loose it upright nature and spoil the whole look of the tree?  It was selected for it's growth habit.

I'd rather try to save it than replace it (it wasn't the cheapest of saplings) so if worth saving do I just tidy up the break and do I do this just below where it snapped or do I take it back to branches (if that's what they are called) below.   

Thanks in advance for all your help and comments they are much appreciated. 


  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,252

    Sorry, but unless you joined the two pieces together with tape and they fused together, then you will indeed get a multi-stemmed plant.

    Actually multi stemmed Birch trees are very fashionable and done properly rather attractive.

  • Id say cut it just below the break now and then in spring when buds below break cut it just above the top one. Then you have the choice of removing all but the top shoot or keeping a few and have a multi-stemmed tree
  • LoganLogan Posts: 2,532
    Angi. Just a thought whatever you do you could try and root what you take off just stick it in the groundimage
  • Invicta2Invicta2 Posts: 663

    Hi Angi

    You say your Birch is variety Crimson Frost. Do you know if this was a grafted specimen? If that was the case then a branch of this variety would have been combined with the stem and root of a wild birch tree. If the break occured below the graft join then the new shoots would be ordinary wild birch. There should be a visible graft point on the stem if it is a graft.

  • AngieRAngieR Posts: 347

    Hi All Thank you ever so much for your comments.  Each and every one is very appreciative.

    Berghill - My initial reaction was to tape it back together and then thought no I'd have to be extremely lucky for that too work.  I hear what you are saying about multi-stemmed birch, perhaps that's what I'll end up with.  

    Rhod - that's exactly the straight forward advice I was hoping to hear.

    Logan - I had no idea that trees would root this way.  I'll give it a try.  Nothing to lose.

    Tetley - your advice has given me hope that my wee tree will recover.  I know what you mean about sourcing reasonable priced bare rooted trees but this being the specific one I wanted I purchased it from a very reputable local nursery so did not mind paying a bit more than compromising on my choice.  I've had some bad experiences shopping for plants online and tend to stay well clear. I am one of those folks that prefer to see what I am buying.  I am lucky to live near a few good independent nurseries with knowledgeable staff.  I also like the fact that the plants I purchase from them are mostly grown here in Scotland and are reliable for my conditions.  

    Invicta2 - I wasn't sure if my tree was grafted or not but having just braved those ice cold winds to check, I think there is what appears to be a graft down at soil level and the break is about 2ft above this.  So I presume all will be ok in that department.

    Thanks for making my first post as painless as possible image

  • Invicta2Invicta2 Posts: 663

    Sounds like you still have Crimson frost then. You usually pay extra for multi- stemmed birch trees, so I think you should give it a chance and see if you like it.

  • AngieRAngieR Posts: 347

    Thank you Tetley.  I'll keep you all posted.

    Invicta2 - yes it seems I do.  I am so glad I asked before discarding it.  

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