White Birch Trees with Five of their Top Attributes

A deciduous tree, the Birch Tree grows quickly across the US and Canada, the UK, Asia, and other cooler places in the world. The largest number of these trees remain in the Northern Hemisphere.

There’s something about seeing a group of Silver Birch Trees that makes me feel happy. Driving down some road and passing these majestic beauties makes me feel uplifted somehow.

Their Five Top Attributes of Silver Birch Trees are:

  • The silver bark of the Birch is lovely; it also seems to glow at night.
  • They provide a lot of shade in the most elegant of ways. Average dimensions being 20 feet in diameter – perfect for a family in a garden.
  • They are incredibly hardy plants and, therefore, easy to maintain.
  • They are so useful, i.e., for making furniture, construction, and vehicle manufacture.
  • Some of the Birches’ sap is used to prepare birch beer, vinegar, and, most importantly, for medicinal purposes.

They can grow to heights of between 60 to 80 feet, live for over 100 years, and are mainly used for making furniture, construction, and vehicle manufacture.

There are over 60 species of birch trees, and then you can add on the many different cultivars – so it’s quite a prolific tree. It grows in North America but then grows well over most of the world in the cooler areas. It is best planted in groups of 3 or 5, or when made into an entire cluster of them, they’ll look wonderful; and it always looks ornamental.

It grows quickly; it is a very hardy plant requiring minimum attention and providing much-needed shade in specific areas of your garden.

There are too many of the species to discuss separately, so here are a few facts about the most popular seven Birch Trees:

Silver Birch

This medium-sized Birch is 15 to 25 meters tall with a lovely white bark with diamond-shaped markings. The leaves are triangular, and the flowers bloom during the very beginning of Spring, with the fruits coming along in late summer. Fund in Europe and Asia, it grows well in sandy and dry soil. It is used for landscape designing, and amazingly, the sap is also used to treat kidney stones.

The white, peeling bark and spade-shaped leaves of the Silver Birch trees make them look beautiful, and they stand out most attractively in a grouped garden setting. Planted together in a group, these narrow-trunked trees cleverly form a dainty shade awning above.

These Birch trees are native to Europe and Asia. The Silver Birch trees thrive in mountainous landscapes where they can afford them a fair degree of protection from the wind.

Silver Birch trees are so graceful, and they have arching canopies that can spread to a delicate but large ‘umbrella’ of about the diameter of 20 feet in diameter. They reach heights of 40 feet, and these trees are best placed in northern or eastern exposures with limited hours of sunlight.

Ideal for a garden because the whitebark with a hint of pink has a strong tendency to peel, but this will set off this ornamental species in a garden, where it will benefit from such a spectacular display.

River Birch

A medium to large Birch, the River Birch grows up to between 25 to 30 meters and has multiple trunks.

The bark is interesting in that the color varies from a creamy white to brown.  It has alternate leaves, but the same oval shape as the others; and the fruits mature in late Spring this time.

These trees are mainly to be found in the Eastern United States. They enjoy being in swamps and floodplains, as they grow best in moist soil. The sap of these trees is used in the preparation of birch beer and vinegar.

River birch trees look good in a landscape with their, with their strangely different scaly brown bark. This bark peels and creates diverse layering in the garden, which is thought-provoking and pleasing.

One particular species called ‘Heritage’ has a bark that is a lighter-colored greyish bark and will complement a wide range of foliage colors.

This type of Birch is fast-growingsometimes attaining a height of 40 feet with 20 years. However, their lifespans are relatively short as they only live usually for around 50 years.

If you choose River Birch trees, their canopies will spread over a diameter of about 35 feet; so make sure you have a spot where they won’t get crowded; these trees can produce a source of pure visual pleasure and a highlight in your garden in you plant them in the right spot.

Paper Birch

This type of Birch is between a small to medium-sized tree, but it can live up to 140 years! It has a pattern of peeling off quite quickly, and you’ll see the color of the bark is white and a sort of reddish-brown. It has triangular-shaped leaves and is found in the north of North America. It prefers acidic soil, and this tree produces a sap used in the preparation of birch syrup – and beer and wine!

White trunks with visibly peeling papery bark, these trees are also known as the white birch trees. Their thin, white trunks easily identify them and are usually planted in groups.

They’re at their best when grown in their native North America in the much cooler climates where it survives very well.

If you want to Paper Birch in your garden, hopefully, this has helped you to decide. By the way, they may have a lifespan of about 30 years in a warm climate, but, in cooler climates, they can live as long as 100 years. They are botanically known as Betula Papyrifera.

Downy Birch

This particular Birch is medium in size and has a bark that looks like a greyish-white color with odd-looking horizontal features. Its leaves have roughly triangular shapes, and it has flowers that bloom in Spring. It also bears elongated fruits.

To find these types of trees, you’ll need to go to Northern Europe, Asia, Iceland, and Greenland. There they survive well in wet, poorly drained soil. However, these trees are generally utilised in the construction of indoor furniture and other plywood objects.

Water or Red Birch

This type of Birch Tree grows only to a height of 32 feet – so it is one of the smaller species. You can usually find these Birches along the banks of rivers or bodies of water.

You’ll recognize it quickly because the bark is a kind of dark reddish-brown, and the leaves are relatively thin and oval with the hairy twigs. The fruits of this tree contain many winged seeds.

If you’re looking for this species, you’ll find it in the western part of North America. Growing so well in wet soil, it helps to reduce erosion and soil run-off when it’s planted along the banks of water bodies. The wood is used as firewood.

Grey Birch

Here’s another small Birch. Sadly, although it grows fast, it doesn’t live long.

Greyish in color, the bark has a triangular-shaped pattern, and the fruit matures in Autumn.

You will find this Birch species in North America, where it enjoys a very well-drained – even sandy – soil. This tree is used for making furniture and top-grade plywood.

The Grey birch trees typically have multiple trunks, giving them a silhouette that looks as much like a massive shrub as a tree. This is so good for landscaping.

Natives of North America, these trees are contrary and can thrive in moist (or swampy) soil.

If you think this is the right Birch for you, you will note that it is an attractive tree and suits gardens with space issues but, did you know that you can use it as what is known as a nurse tree – in other words, it will protect, say, valuable pines in your landscape.

Himalayan Birch

The Himalayan Birch is about 20 meters tall at full height. This medium-sized tree displays a reddish-brown bark with horizontal lenticels (the gaps in the bark that release the tree’s gases). Its leaves are hairy and oval, and It is found mainly in the Himalayan range; it grows well in wet soil. This Birch is used for packing butter and as a bandage.

This tree is often perfect for large homes and a good problem solver for sites that are too wet for planting.

The Himalayan Birch enjoys full sun. It has a 20-foot canopy, so it needs space to spread out.

This fast-growing Himalayan Birch is ideal for filling a space in a garden landscape.

To Plant and Look Out For:

Birches have a shallow root system, and therefore it is extremely sensitive. It is crucial, therefore, to select the exact right spot when planting.

When selecting the right spot, look up because you can have any overhead wires – remember, these plants grow fast and become quite tall.

Once planted, don’t forget to mulch the roots.

It doesn’t need a lot, but don’t forget to fertilize once in a while.


The Betula Pendula – which we discussed further up this page, unfortunately, has one messy drawback. It can cause allergies, or a great deal worse, as it’s bark, leaves, fruit, and branches are poisonous, in that they release gases and a sticky vapor that is toxic. You might develop a nasty cough, allergies, or worse.

Human health is more important than some pretty plant.

Anyway, the Pendula Utilis looks quite similar to the Pendula, except that it is even more beautiful and has a straighter form of growth. Otherwise, the happy news is that it is non-toxic and extremely safe to have in one’s garden.

So, be safe and plant the Pendula Utilis, a beautiful Silver Birch tree that is harmless to you, family, friends, and pets, to be happier.

Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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