Betula albosinensis ‘Septentrionalis’

Betula albosinensis is the Chinese birch, ‘Septentrionalis’ being the form most usually seen in gardens – and the one I grow myself. One of its principal attractions is its bark, which starts to peel away in papery strips at this time of year to reveal a new creamy pink layer beneath. It’s a pleasant job to help things along a bit on a sunny day – but you have to wait until this is starting to happen naturally, or you run the risk of damaging the new bark beneath.

The old, outer layer of bark is now being shed in papery strips

This will be necessary in my case, as, as I mentioned in my newsletter, the outer bark is marked by a bright green lichen. This can only get worse if I leave it. It won’t damage the tree, but it’s unsightly.

A light, airy tree, this birch is an ideal choice for a small garden. With its teardrop-shaped crown it takes up little space laterally and does not cast much shade – besides being delight at all times of year, it tolerates less than ideal growing conditions. As it has to in my garden.

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