Silver Birch (Betula pendula)
Silver Birch, Betula pendula, is a pretty and valuable fast growing tree, although only living for up to 80 years. Like Downy Birch, Silver Birch supports over a hundred insect species and its massive numbers of seeds attract birds, including redpolls. It prefers full sun, typically of a pioneer species, and likes light dry soil conditions. The graceful silver limbs of the Betula pendula hold small leaves, which give dappled shade and yellow in the autumn. For good reason did Coleridge describe it as "most beautiful/Of forest trees, the Lady of the Woods."
The huge birch and pine forest in the Highlands following the last Ice Age has now disappeared, but Silver Birch is still widely distributed in Britain. It is a rapid and efficient coloniser of open sites on acidic soils, seeding freely, and tolerates harsh conditions. These include urban sites, where it flourishes. It's still coppiced for besoms and brushwood horse jumps, and its wood used for plywood.
Our ancestors used to tap birch trees and extract their sap, which is fragrant and sweet, and you can find recipes for birch sap wine. They also used its young leaves as a treatment for urinary infections, as they're both antiseptic and diuretic. Silver birch bark used as a kind of parchment lasts for many years - back to the Mesolithic - as it has fungicidal properties.
Like all the native trees we sell, our Silver birch are grown in the UK from UK origin seed.
Suppliers: Perrie Hale Forest Nursery, RV Roger, British Hardwood Trees.
Your purchase helps us support a range of charities, which are related to the products we sell.
Please note that standard sizes relate to tree girths in cm. See our planting and size guide for details and tips on planting trees.
Our Betula pendula trees are all bare root, and are consequently available for delivery from November until March (please ask if you are interested in pot grown plants). During the lifting season there may be up to two weeks delay between placing the order and dispatching, due to weather conditions or pressure of orders, which are dealt with in date sequence. Orders placed for Silver Birch between March and October are confirmed for dispatch from November.
Time to Ultimate Height
Over 20 years
Clay, loam, sand, chalk
Neutral, acid, alkaline
Sheltered or exposed
Full or partial sun