River birch trees are known for their paper-like white bark. They add a stunning, elegant look to your landscaping, and they are known to grow rather quickly, making them a good choice if you want some fashionable shade for your yard. To ensure your river birch thrives, follow these planting and care tips:
- Make sure you choose a moist planting site for your river birch. In nature, they grow by rivers and ponds. A low spot where water collects in the spring will suffice.
- Plant your tree in a partially shaded area. Most trees require full sunlight, but the river birch is different. It will thrive in an area that receives morning sun and afternoon shade.
- Conduct a soil test before planting your tree. Follow its instructions to adjust the pH to below 6.5, if needed.
- If your soil is compact, make sure you dig a broad hole to plant your birch tree. This gives its roots some extra soft soil to grow into.
Young Tree Care Tips:
- If you have any dry, hot days when your tree is young (under 3 or 4 years), make sure you water the tree. Birch trees will not tolerate drought.
- Mulch around the tree with a good-quality, organic wood mulch. This will help trap in the moisture, and as the mulch breaks down, it will add nutrients to the soil that the tree needs.
- Don't worry about fertilizing your tree unless its leaves are yellowing or its growth seems overly slow. Unneeded fertilizing may just throw off your soil pH.
- Avoid heavy pruning of your river birch tree. Most will grow straight and tall with no extra encouragement from you. A slight trim to remove dead branches, only, is recommended every couple of years.
Mature Tree Care Tips:
- As your tree ages, watch it for signs of insect infestations and blight. If you notice spots on the leaves, contact a tree care expert. They may be caused by the birch borer, an insect that can kill weakened trees.
- Never bring wood onto your property, as it may contain fungi and insects that can cause disease in birch trees.
- If birch borers are common in your area, consider having your trees preemptively sprayed with insecticides to prevent infections.
With the tips above, you can grow stunning river birch trees that will become the talk of the town. Choose healthy trees from a reputable garden center or tree service so you get off to the best start possible, and then adhere to the tips above to keep them in great condition.