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Downy Birch - Betula pubescens

Downy Birch - Betula pubescens

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 Acidic, Sandy, Peaty Acidic, Sandy, Peaty
 Alkaline, Chalky, Calcareous Alkaline, Chalky, Calcareous
 Damp and Clays Damp and Clays
 Neutral Neutral
Growth Rate: Quick Growth Rate: Quick
Height: Medium Height: Medium
Native Native
Use: Farm Woodland Use: Farm Woodland
Use: Shelterbelt Use: Shelterbelt

Characteristics
Plant Protection
Planting & Care
Long Description 5
Images (4)
Questions (1)
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A narrow, conical tree with more upright, ascending branches than the pendulous Silver Birch. It has downy young shoots, which are most pronounced on younger trees, and sharply toothed leaves which are also downy on the underside. The grey-white bark has horizontal lines and peels into papery layers. This fast-growing British native is often planted to protect other young trees and is very hardy, its natural range extending to Greenland and Iceland.

Site and soil

Tolerant of a wide range of soils, the Downy Birch will do well even on boggy, waterlogged sites. It is very hardy, with a range extending into the Arctic, and copes well with exposed situations.

Height and spread

Below are the approximate stages of growth, assuming sited in suitable conditions for this species;

After 10 years: 6m x 3m
After 20 years: 9m x 4m

Leaf and bark

The diamond-shaped, sharply toothed leaves have a rough upper surface when young, with down on the veins of the underside of the leaf and on the leaf-stalks. The leaves turn yellow in autumn. The bark is greyish-white and peeling, with horizontal lines and dark branch scars.

Flower, seed and fruit

The catkins open along with the leaves in April, the males 3cm long, females smaller. The inconspicuous seed is dispersed by the wind.

Uses

The Downy Birch is used in woodland planting, and as a shelter belt for young trees in exposed situations, Useful for exposed, wet areas where little else will grow. The bark has been used for roofing in Scandinavia, and for tanning leather. The wood is used for wood pulp and plywood.

Wildlife

Pollen for early insects, shelter for birds in exposed sites.

The main reasons for buying protection is to protect the plants against:

  • Pests
  • Spraying
  • Strimming

Pests

When it comes to deciding what protection to choose the golen rule of thumb is to choose the product dependent on which pest you are protecting against. The below will help you in deciding what height of protection you will need.

Vole Rabbit Hare Roe Deer/Muntjac Fallow Deer
Vole, Mice
20cm
Rabbit
60cm
Hare
75cm
Roe Deer/Muntjac
1.20m
Fallow Deer
1.50m

 Download our full protection range as a printable PDF document.

Protection Options

Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Vole
Vole, Mice
20cm
Vole Guard
20cm
None required
Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Rabbit
Rabbit
60cm
Spiral Guard
60cm x 38mm, 60cm x 50mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Easywrap
60cm x 50-65mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Mesh Guard with Spray Shield
60cm x 130mm
2 x Bamboo Canes
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Fruitwrap
60cm x 65-80mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Ecostart
60cm x 57-73cm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Tree Shelter
60cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelter
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 144-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelterguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 170-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube for Shrubs
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 170-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Hare
Hare
75cm
Tubex Easywrap
75cm x 50-65mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Spiral Guard
75cm x 50mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Tubex Fruitwrap
75cm x 65-80mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Tubex Ecostart
75cm x 57-73mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Tree Shelter
75cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Combitube
75cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
90cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
75cm x 80-110mm, 90cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelter
75cm x 130-160mm, 75cm x 144-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Roe Deer/Muntjac
Roe Deer/Muntjac
1.20m
Tubex Tree Shelter
1.20m x 73-105mm, 1.20m x 80-120mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Combitube
1.20m x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
1.20m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
1.20m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Galvanised Mesh Tree Guard
1.20m x 300mm
Machine Rounded Tree Stake
1.20m x 50mm, 1.50m x 50mm
Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Fallow DeerFallow Deer
1.50m
Tubex Tree Shelter
1.50m x 80-120mm, 1.80m x 80-120mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Combitube
1.50m x 80-120mm, 1.80m x 80-120mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
1.50m x 80-110mm, 1.80m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
1.50m x 80-110mm, 1.80m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Galvanised Mesh Tree Guard
1.80m x 300mm, 1.80m x 600mm
Machine Rounded Tree Stake
1.80m x 60mm

Spraying

Tubex tree shelters offer the benefit of not only protecting against animal damage, they also ensure that herbicides do not come into contact with the plants during spraying.

The main reason for spraying is weed control, however, there are other options available to suppress weeds. Our accessories section includes weed control matting, fertilisers & wildflower seed.

Strimming

Young plants should be protected from damage caused when strimming. To protect plants solely for strimming, our strimmer guards are the ideal product.

Planting

Follow this link to our 'Planting Advice' page for more detailed information on how to plant your plants.

Rootgrow

We would often advise that you consider using 'Rootgrow' for your bare root plants. Rootgrow simply speeds up an existing natural process. The fungi contained in Rootgrow will begin to colonise the plant or tree roots, extending the root system into the surrounding soil via an extensive network of fungal filaments. 

The benefit of Rootgrowis that it enhances a plants root system so a newly planted plant:

  • Finds more food, finds more water.

  • Needs less fertiliser.

  • Establishes quicker and reduces failure rates (which can be improved even further when used in conjunction with Broadleaf P4)

  • Has increased tolerance to drought and difficult soil conditions

We also have a handy Welfare Guide that includes information on how to check your plants on arrival, how to plant them and also how to look after them. This is sent out with each delivery of bare root plants, but it can be downloaded from our advice pages.

Aftercare

The Downy Birch is not normally pruned, but may be shaped by the wind in exposed areas.

Readily available advice

For additional information on planting and maintaining your plants, please see our advice pages.

We provide extensive articles, tips, and even tutorial videos, ideal for beginners and those with previous planting experience.

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Hi, how close to the house can downy birch be planted please?

We would recommend that you leave 1.5 - 2.00 metres gap between the house and any planting of this nature.

Hope that helps you, regards the Trees and Hedging Team

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