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Birch trees

RubiRubi Posts: 131
Hi everyone I'm wanting to plant a few birch trees at the bottom of my garden to create a bit of privacy and hide the mill. I have chosen the birch trees as I like their light canopy and slim trunk. The trees would be about 1.5m away from the fence. I was thinking of planting four birch trees, about a metre apart starting from the right hand side of the garden. And in the bottom left hand corner, I was looking to plant an apple tree that grows up to about 2-3m. I have a few questions I would appreciate help with. 1. Can I plant birch trees 1m apart? I would like to keep the tree heights to about 10-15m so thought keeping them closer together might help keep them at a shorter height. 2. How fast do birch trees grow? 3. Are they good on clay soil? 4. As I am in Manchester, we are prone to a lot of rain. Will a lot of rain affect the Birch trees? 5. Which type of birch tree would be best as I would like something that reaches a height of about 10-15m. 6. I read on another forum something about their seeds self planting. Is this something I should be concerned about? 7. When do the trees need to be planted by? I have seen trees for sale at reasonable prices that are about 6-8ft. 8. Do I need to worry about the roots be invasive and causing damage to surrounding properties?


  • RubiRubi Posts: 131

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,567

    Hi Rubi

    I can't see your pic

    3 foot might be a bit close but I have seen 3 planted together, so they look like one multi-stemmed tree, that is very effective.

    They grow quite quickly and never look as good once you've cut them back

    Rain will be fine, it's too dry here and mine aren't brilliant.

    Large trees are more difficult to establish than small ones and are more likely to fail.

    In theory a container grown tree can be planted anytime.

    How far away is the nearest property? I don't think birch is a big offender re roots, not like willow and poplar. 

    They do seed around, most native trees (and some non-natives) do.

    There are some lovely birches with very white trunks but much more expensive

    I can't see your pic

    I think that's emptied my store of birch knowledgeimage

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,549

    I'd plant 3 or 5 but not four. Even numbers don't look so good for some reason.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,567

    i can see the pic nowimage

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,069

    I don't think birch would suit that site as they do look odd (or downright ugly) when cut back.    They are also relatively shallow rooted so prone to falling over in high winds and you don't want bovver with your neighbours and insurance claims.

    I suggest you consider a snake bark maple (acer pensylvanicum - several forms) which has interesting bark and maybe prunus serrula for its bark and flowers and foliage, crab apples such as malus John Downie, sorbus commixta, koelreuteria paniculata and gleditsia.   The RHS website has descriptions of all of these and none will outgrow your height requirement.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 11,989

    Betula jacuemontii [ ?sp. ] is my favourite. The most beautiful white bark of all, IMO.

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