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Betula pendula
Betula pendula

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Zone
Zones A2, A3, 1-12, 14-24, 35-45
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Betula pendula ‘Trost’s Dwarf’

Dwarf European Birch
Betulaceae
Deciduous, Trees

BETULA

The white-barked European white birch—the tree that comes to mind when most people think of birches—has many relatives that resemble it in graceful habit, thin bark peeling in layers, and smallish, fine-toothed leaves that turn from green to glowing yellow in fall. After leaf drop, the delicate limb structure, handsome bark, and small conelike fruits provide a winter display.

All birches need a regular supply of moisture and nutrients; they are generally too greedy for lawns. Nor should they be planted on a patio or where cars will be parked beneath them, since they are all susceptible to aphids that drip honeydew. Bronze birch borer can be a problem in the northern Rocky Mountain states; leaf miners in the Pacific Northwest. Pruned established trees just to remove weak, damaged, or dead growth. To minimize sap bleed, prune in summer or early fall in mild-winter areas; where temperatures remain below freezing, wait until the end of January.

Betula pendula
Betula pendula

Click to Enlarge

Betula pendula

Native from Europe to Asia Minor, this birch has a delicate, lacy appearance, with upright main branches and weeping side branches. An average mature tree is 30–40 ft. tall, spreading to half its height. Bark on twigs and young branches is golden brown; as trees mature, bark on trunk and main limbs becomes white, marked with black clefts. Oldest bark (at base of tree) is blackish gray. Glossy, rich green leaves to 2 1/2 in. long are diamond shaped, with a slender, tapered point. Often sold as weeping birch, although trees vary somewhat in habit, and young trees show little inclination to weep. Very prone to borer attack.

‘Trost’s Dwarf’

Grows up to 3 ft. tall and wide. For bonsai, containers, or rock garden. Needs excellent drainage.

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