The paper birch tree is the epitome of a rural, woodsy tree. They have a canopy that is light and thin enough to give shade, while allowing enough light to allow wintergreen, barberry, and grass to grow below them. As belies their rural nature, they do not survive well in city settings, as the dryness and pollution cause them all sorts of problems. Even in forest settings, however, they can be fragile. Strong winds have been known to break their branches, as have snow and ice. Nonetheless, they are beautiful trees that fit in well with a rustic landscape.
Paper Birch Tree Basics
The paper birch is known as the canoe birth. It thrives especially well in wet ground next to streams and lakes. In the fall, their foliage is a vibrant yellow color, making it a beautiful tree to admire. Their branches go quite low, so the paper birch is a full tree that provides a stunning backdrop.
The most noticeable and memorable aspect of the paper birch is the white bark which peels off easy and gives the tree its name. The paper birch can get up to 60 feet tall, and grow to 35 feet wide. In the cold climate, it grows about 2 feet per year. There are plenty of insects and animals who are drawn to the tree, such as the luna moth caterpillar and the yellow bellied sap sucker. The paper birch makes a good roadside tree, because the roots do not push above the soil surface.
How to Care for Paper Birch Trees
Paper birches are best planted where there is a lot of sun but where the soil is moist and well-drained. This is why they thrive near water. They are very easily transplanted as well, as they do not react poorly to being moved. The bronze birch borer insect can do some heavy damage to the paper birch, but planting a resistant cultivar nearby can help mitigate the risk. Fertilizing every year and using organic mulch can help. Paper birches do not need to be pruned, and pruning will make them susceptible to insects. Try to avoid pruning the tree if you can.
The paper birch is a beautiful tree native to the northeastern United States and Canada. Plant one today for a beautiful highlight to rural scenery.