The Overhanging Birch: Description, Characteristics, Planting And Care, Species

In Russia, the birch is not considered a simple tree, but a native and priceless one. There are many tree species, but only the birch has a white bark. But quite seldom there are also varieties with brown bark. Since ancient times in Russia, the color white represents spiritual purity. That is why on certain Orthodox holidays it is customary to use branches of this plant as a decoration of one's home.

Birch-birch is singed many times by poets, and also its special beauty and charm is depicted on the canvas by more than one artist. Many songs are written about the birch tree in which it is compared to the beautiful maiden or is called a symbol of Russia.

The Birch is widespread in Russia. Its impressive range of growth covers the Caucasus, Altai and the western territories of Europe. The weeping or warty birch (Betula verrucosa, or Betula pendula) is a deciduous tree that is a member of the Birch family (Betulaceae).

Properties of the lingering birch

The overhanging birch: description, characteristics, planting and care, species

The lush, openwork crown of the lingering birch (Betula Repdula) decorates a thin and graceful trunk. If the tree grows in favorable conditions it can reach 30-35 m in height and 0.6-0.8 m in cross-section. The smooth snow-white bark varies in that it flakes off in thin layers.

Closer to the root, the bark has a gray-black coloring, and is rough to the touch. Until the young plant is about 6-8 years old, its bark is brown in color.

Branches are usually loping. One-year old shoots growing at the branches are brownish-red in color. Resinous wart-like glands are formed on their surface in large quantities, which have a rather pungent odor.

The rootstock, while young, may have pubescence on the surface.

Brown-red, sticky buds have a balsamic aroma and an astringent, resinous taste. Leaf laminae vary in length from 35 to 70 mm and in width from 25 to 55 mm. The leaves vary in shape from deltoid to triangular-rhombic with a double-jagged edge. After opening, the leaf blade has a smooth and sticky surface.

The underside of the leaves is matte green, while the front side is glossy and has a dark green hue. As a rule, the leaf petioles are not long: two or three times shorter than the leaf plates.

This tree is a monodomous plant because it has both staminate and pistillate flowers. The appearance of the female earrings is observed in the spring, when the leaves begin to blossom. At the same time, the formation of male earrings occurs in the autumn months, and they are gathered in bundles of 1-4 pieces.

The length of the male earring may increase two to four times over time. Flowers may even be seen on such earrings.

Oval yellow fruits collected in an earring are similar in appearance to winged nuts. Each earring may contain up to 500 fruits. They fall off the birch tree gradually from the last weeks of August to mid-February.

The tree is fast growing and has a poorly developed root system. As a result, strong gusts of wind or a storm can cause the tree to fall over. In comfortable conditions the birch tree may live 120 to 150 years.

The Youngii (weeping) birch |

Views of birch tree

Scientists have discovered several species of birch tree, and their homeland and place of growth is not only Eurasia, but also other continents.

For example:

Dalekarli birch

The overhanging birch: description, characteristics, planting and care, species

This plant is native to the Scandinavian Peninsula, and is not often seen on European territory. It differs from other varieties by its unusual shape of leaves: they are wedge-shaped, the edge of the plates is split, while the denticles are pointed and long. The straight trunk reaches about 20 m in height. It is decorated with an openwork crown. The branches, which are the main ones, grow at right angles.

Purpurea birch

The overhanging birch: description, characteristics, planting and care, species

The characteristic feature of this variety is its foliage. It has an unusual dark red hue, changing after a while to a dark purple and later to a reddish-brown hue. When growing in a poorly lit area, the leaves will turn green. The crown of such a plant is openwork and has a conical shape. The height of this birch is about 10 m.

Laciniata birch

The overhanging birch: description, characteristics, planting and care, species

The white trunk is decorated with an oval crown. It consists of upward pointing branches, with the shoots pointing toward the soil surface while young. The green, heavily rugged leaf plates have a serrated edge. The tree can grow up to 15 m tall.

Birch Royal Frost

The overhanging birch: description, characteristics, planting and care, species

The purplish-burgundy leaf plates look particularly striking against the white trunk.

When young, the plant possesses brown bark, but over the years it changes its color to white. The foliage has long petioles, causing it to point downward. The tops of the rhombic leaf plates are pointed. The height of the adult plant is about 9 m.

Jungi Birch

The overhanging birch: description, characteristics, planting and care, species

The height of this dwarf variety is only about 300 cm.

The thin and straight trunk has a white coloration. The branches hanging downward almost touch the ground. The shiny, deep green foliage is rhombic in shape.

Long Trunk Birch variety review and reviews

Where it grows

The overhanging birch: description, characteristics, planting and care, species

The most common species is the Ling Birch in Western Siberia, the Caucasus and Altai as well as in the European part of Russia. Also this plant can be seen in Western Europe, where its height may reach up to 25 m.

As a rule, this species of birch is found in forest areas. Even city alleys and parks are planted with it.

Thick birch can be found in birch groves and also in deciduous mixed forests near linden or oak, aspen or elm. In steppes one can meet forest islands formed by the lodgepole birch. It also spreads successfully by self-seeding in abandoned fields, in places where fires once occurred, and in other areas with disturbed habitat.

In urban areas, it is not uncommon to see young birch shoots sprouting through coverings on the roofs of houses. Also such a birch can grow by itself on the side of the road.

Posting and care

The overhanging birch: description, characteristics, planting and care, species

As a rule, in urban conditions the maximum life span of a hanging birch is about 150 years. But you can meet birch-trees that are over 500 years old. Lifespan of birch in culture is significantly influenced by how well it will be planted and how it will be looked after.

Selection of site

In order to grow such a tree on your plot you should consider the quality of ground when choosing a suitable place for planting. It must be moist, airy and water permeable. In addition, on the selected site, groundwater should not be located too close to its surface. In this case, the plant does not have any particular requirements to the composition of soil. However, it grows best in fresh loamy or sandy loam soil.

The birch grows most quickly in sunny places. The mature birch tree is very frost-resistant, being able to bear frosts of 40 degrees below zero. Moreover it feels quite well in dry seasons. However, in order for the birch to feel most comfortable at this time, it should be systematically watered.

Growing from seed

The overhanging birch: description, characteristics, planting and care, species

The tree propagates itself perfectly by self-sowing.

And if the birch breaks down or is cut down, it is able to regenerate quickly with the help of the shoots that form on the stump. Use freshly harvested seeds for sowing, and sow them in a well-lit and cool greenhouse. Spread the seeds on top of the soil and cover them with a layer of mulch. If it is very cold in the greenhouse, it is recommended to cover it with glass.

After the seedlings have grown a little and become stronger, they can be planted in individual pots and moved to a cooler room.

The seedlings should be planted in the garden in the spring after the threat of frost returns has passed. Pay attention to the fact that the root neck should be at the same level with the surface of the soil. If, however, the seeds were sown directly in the open ground, the seedlings should be ready for planting in a permanent location after two years.


The overhanging birch: description, characteristics, planting and care, species

The overhanging birch is an undemanding plant. It is a light loving crop so when planting several saplings, keep a distance of at least four meters between them.

Water during irrigation should be poured carefully into the root circle. In order to slow the evaporation of moisture from the soil, the soil surface should be covered with a layer of leaf mulch. It is advisable to water the newly planted sapling frequently, but with a small amount of water.


Garden shears and secateurs can help to shape the birch crown into the desired shape. This is especially important if the crown of the plant shades the other trees.

Often to achieve a weeping crown in a tree, resort to grafting. However, this is not easy for an inexperienced gardener to do on his own. Therefore, when buying, it is worth choosing seedlings that have already been grafted.

Diseases and pests

The overhanging birch: description, characteristics, planting and care, species

Forest birch often have mites, chaga, mullein and birch sponge settling on the trunk. Weakened trees are especially fond of such mushrooms.

At the same time, chaga prefers to grow on strong and lively birches. And other parasitic fungi prefer dead or weak specimens.

Pests such as tube-beetles, silkworm caterpillars, May beetles, etc. settle on leaves most often. A large number of pests make holes in the bark of birch trees to lay their ovipositions there.

This harms both the bark and the plant itself.

Application and significance

The overhanging birch: description, characteristics, planting and care, species

The overhanging birch tree is not only a very beautiful but also a useful tree. It has found wide use both in medicine and in the home.

Birch uses:

  1. As a food. The flowers, leaves, bows, and sap can be consumed as food.

    Young leaves are either heat treated or eaten fresh. Dried leaves are used to make tea. The juice of such a tree can act as an independent drink or it is used to make beer with the addition of honey. Lub is used to obtain a special powder used during cooking as a thickener. The dried flowers are used in making teas or infusions.

  2. As a remedy. The bark has laxative and diuretic effects. Ointments used to treat skin diseases are made from the bast. The buds have a pronounced antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and expectorant effect. Leaves and shoots when combined with alkali have a powerful tonic and laxative properties.

    Leaves are used to prepare an infusion used in inflammatory diseases of the joints. A decoction made from the leaves helps to dissolve kidney stones. The juice of the birch has an anti-edematous effect. Chaga growing on the birch is widely used in medicine in the treatment of various diseases. From the birch tar are prepared medicinal soaps and shampoos.

    And birch bark is used for obtaining essential oil.

  3. As a building material. Water-repellent properties of birch bark allow it to be widely used during the construction of boats, and also as a roofing covering. Branches of birch are also used for making roofs.
  4. Wood.

    It is very delicate and soft, so it is not difficult to process. That is why birch wood is often used to create decorative items and unique souvenirs. Even to create a wood craftsmen use birch burl. As a rule, use a solid birch birch log, which has a unique pattern of annual rings on a cut. Such products are endowed by nature itself with bizarre patterns and do not need any processing to create them.

  5. Application in everyday life. Birch wood is considered the hottest firewood. The birch bark is used to make utensils, and the wood to make activated charcoal, alcohol, paper, charcoal, vinegar, and turpentine. Birch sap is used to make glue. Ropes and strong ropes are made from birch bark.

    Branches are used to make baskets and to make brooms for baths. Different parts of the tree are used to make different paints. And professional charcoal crayons are made from the bark.

Use in landscaping

The overhanging birch: description, characteristics, planting and care, species

The ornamental varieties of the Hanging Birch combine beautifully with other tree species such as conifers. In autumn time bright yellow birch leaves look very impressive against the dark-green branches of coniferous trees.

This type of birch on a bough is especially popular in culture. Its branches are directed downwards and need to be trimmed regularly. The birch can be shaped in an unusual way by pruning. In landscape design, the birch is planted in alleys, in wooded areas, and in private yards. It blends perfectly with both conifers and deciduous species.

Birch in landscape design. An unusual hanging birch arbor.


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