Site address
(not postal)
Woodcroft Wildspace
Downes Court
N21 3PT

SILVER BIRCH (Betula pendula)

The Silver Birch is a small, fast growing deciduous tree which reaches a height of up to 30m. It grows rapidly for the first 20 years and is mature at 40 years. Its maximum age is 60 to 90 years, though rare individuals have been known to survive for 150 years. The birch is a slender tree with the trunk rarely exceeding 40cm at breast height. It is a broad leaved tree which tolerates a wide range of habitats, but prefers higher altitudes and dry, sandy soil.

The flowers and leaves appear during April and May. The twigs and buds are reddish-purple, and the new leaves are bright green. This changes to a duller green after a week or two. The bark is reddish brown when the tree is young, but will change to white with black patches when mature.

Birches provide support for many insects and invertebrates - 334 species are known to feed on them. These in turn provide food for birds.