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Food Forests

Leaf Trees

Birch & Kin


Native Birch

Ornamental Birch






Oak & Walnut





This & That




Our Forests



Two monks were describing a flapping flag. One said,”The flag is moving.” The other said,”The wind is moving.” Hui Neng happened to be passing by. He said,”Not the wind, not the flag; the mind is moving.”
Zen Koan

Birch and related trees

Betulaceae -- Alder, Birch, Hazel, Hornbeam

Alder is a little known tough small tree, large shrub, nitrogen fixing, and generally tolerant of abuse and neglect.

Hazel are the source of hazelnuts. Alas the one we have, the nut only gets to be about the size of pencil eraser. It's an inconspicuous understory shrub in poplar bush.

Hornbeam's other common name is iron wood. I have a couple coming (2016) More news about it soon.


Birch, however is the big star in the group. Birches are famous for their white peeling bark, but they aren't all white.

Birch by pond

Birch along a pond. In the landscape birch look good in random small clumps.

Birches tend to be short lived, fast growing trees. Most grow about 2 feet a year while young. Mature height normally about 30 feet. Lifespan 30-100 years.

Birches can be planted alone, or in clumps. Some are naturally multi-trunked. Consider birches:

Do not plant a birch:

Other good places to use birch:


Pink Bark on Birch

Birch bark is not always white. On this one, the bark is an attractive salmon color. (This colour is not common, and is likely the result of the birch's promiscuous breeding habits)



Pests and Diseases

The birches have a tendency to cross pollenate. Natural hybrids are common.

Not all birches have white bark. However they all have barks that differ in appearance between young branches and old. When young, (up to about thumb thick) the branches are dark brown or a reddish brown. In the 4th year or so, the branch will start going lighter starting at its base. By the time the branch is two inches thick it will have the papery layers and mature appearance.

Birch Trees at Sherwood's Forests

I carry four varieties of birch at this point. You will find them in the Native Birches and Ornamental Birches sections.

Got something to say? Email me: sfinfo@sherwoods-forests.com

Want to talk right now? Talk to me: (8 am to 9 pm only, please) 1-780-848-2548

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Copyright © 2008 - 2017 S. G. Botsford

Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.