Bring Back Paper Birch!

Paper Birch and its white chalky bark is well recognized across the state. In the last 20 to 30 years, landscapers and nurseries have strayed from the paper birch to whitespire birch or grey birch because paper birch has a reputation for being susceptible to bronze birch borer, a native pest. In reality, when properly placed, a paper birch can thrive and not succumb to bronze birch borer. Paper birch is an understory tree and should be planted in partial shade among other trees. Cool root zones are the key for this tree. Bring back that native yellow fall color to your yard!

 A single stem paper birch in a customer’s yard. This stem sprouted from the stump after the original tree was cut down due to structural concerns.

A single stem paper birch in a customer’s yard. This stem sprouted from the stump after the original tree was cut down due to structural concerns.

I like the upright growth habitat favored by the paper birch. Fewer branches gives the paper birch an aesthetic advantage over the messy/super thick grey birch. We often prune grey birch to look like paper birch (doesn't that sound silly?) by removing or thinning the branching to clean up its appearance.

 Before: A grey birch prior to Alex thinning the canopy to improve its appearance.

Before: A grey birch prior to Alex thinning the canopy to improve its appearance.

 After: Notice how many fewer branches the tree has.

After: Notice how many fewer branches the tree has.

We plant single-stem paper birch each spring as a bare root tree. Go to our store or contact us today to inquire about purchasing a paper birch for your yard. If you are inclined to plant a paper birch yourself, AWESOME! Remember that birch is an understory tree and should be planted in partial shade. I have noticed that paper birch on the east and north side of homes do well because the house shades the root zone in our hot summer afternoons.