Betula utilis var. 'Jacquemontii' - (Himalayan Birch)

It's the whiteness of the bark and the delicacy of the foliage that singles this deciduous tree out. In most places this grows (including Britain), especially on the north side (out of the sun), you'll always get a lot of green algae growing on the bark. This happens on all trees but is particularly noticeable on these. Wait for a damp day (when the algae's soft) and either brush it off (time consuming) or use a pressure washer with the spray set to wide and gentle and remove the greenery in an instant (not at all time consuming). The difference is wondrous to behold. Great fun too. Add to the whiteness of these trees (they should always be grown in a clump or a copse or a wood or a forest) by under-planting with low clipped dark evergreens. I have a particular weakness for using clipped Choisya ternata. The bright white and dark shiny green is dead posh. Very Holland Park. This was inspired by some I spotted (as in attached photo) opposite Staples stationery shop in the middle of Horsham. Pressure washing your trees would be considered by some to be the lunatic end of the Creative Maintenance spectrum. To us it's common sense and completely obvious. 

All birches like reasonably well drained soil and plenty of light. Try removing any lower branches that can enhance the shape of the tree or obscure the lovely bark. Can grow to 35 ft after 35 years. The extensive groves of birches outside the Tate Modern in London are often quoted as being these trees. I think not. They're the very nice native Silver Birch (Betula sylvestris). The Himalayan Birches are whiter. Mind you, the ones at the Tate could do with a good scrub anyway.

The best time to prune birch trees is late summer or early autumn. It's usually only needed to remove dead, diseased and injured branches. When you prune at the correct time, you not only avoid sap flows, but you also avoid the egg laying season for most insects that infest pruning wounds.  Birch tree borers are tree killers, and you should reduce the risk of attack by cutting after their early summer flying season whenever possible.

Features Hardiness rating

Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.

Bark (unusual/coloured etc), Screening Plants, Soil - Clay, Soil - Dry/Well drained, Space & Light, Trees - Medium Green

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