- Suitable as a woodland tree or urban tree
- Particularly suited to growing in wetter soils
- Common in Scotland where it is grown for timber
- Safe to plant near livestock (non-toxic)
Grown on our farm in Herefordshire. Buy with confidence - read our customer reviews.
The specifications shown below are our normal range but we often have additional options. If there is something that you are looking for, it's often worth contacting us.
|Product Options||Height||Age||Root Type||Specification||1+||100+||500+||Quantity Qty|
|30-40cm||1 yr||Bare Root||1+0 seedling||£0.65 (ex. VAT)||£0.55 (ex. VAT)||£0.50 (ex. VAT)||
|20-60cm||1 yr||Cell grown||cell grown||£1.40 (ex. VAT)||£1.30 (ex. VAT)||£1.20 (ex. VAT)||
|40-60cm||1 yr||Bare Root||1+0 seedling||£0.75 (ex. VAT)||£0.70 (ex. VAT)||£0.60 (ex. VAT)||
|60-80cm||1 yr||Bare Root||1+0 seedling||£0.85 (ex. VAT)||£0.75 (ex. VAT)||£0.65 (ex. VAT)||Out of stock | Email me when back in stock|
We have bare root downy birch trees in several sizes. The 1+0 specification plants are seedlings (often called whips) which were sown from seed in the spring and are sold during the following November to April months ie they are one year old. We have downy birch bare root whips in several heights.
In addition we have cell grown downy birch plants which are grown by one of the UK's best specialist growers and these plants are available all year round.
We always have several batches of seed for Downy birch including UK provenance seed, but sometimes also the highest quality imported seed so if it is particularly important to you to have UK provenance seed, please give us a call. See our blog on seed provenance.
You can read more about the specifications we offer on the tab just below the pricing table - to the right of this product description.
Native to all of Northern Europe, downy birch grows further north than any other broadleaf tree. It is closely related to Silver birch but grows in wetter soil and is well suited to the west of Scotland where it is grown for timber. This blog explains the main differences between Silver birch and Downy birch.
As its common name implies, Downy birch is covered in downy hairs. It has an elegant, light canopy with slightly drooping branches (but is more upright than Betula pendula). The bark of downy birch isn’t as white and papery as silver birch and has less fissures.
Found throughout the UK but particularly in the north and west, downy birch prefers damper soils than silver birch, even heavy clay soils and boggy areas (but not fully waterlogged). It grows well on elevation sites in full or partial sun.
Downy birch has small green, triangular leaves rounded at the base with velvety leaf stalks. The yellow/brown “lambs’ tails” male catkins and are long and dangling, female catkins are short and upright and bright green and are wind pollinated after which they turn red and disperse tiny seed in autumn. It supports 300+ insect species and several bird species, particularly siskins.
Downy birch is a pioneer species (see blog on this topic) and are fast growing, seed readily, are undemanding and easy to establish. Their eventual height is about 20m.
This section gives definitions on the specifications of plants that we sell. We are specialists in field grown (or bare root) plants which are grown in two ways. The majority are grown from seed, some are ready within one growing season (seedlings or 1+0's) and some species require two growing seasons (1u1's). In addition to growing from seed we also grow from small plants or cuttings (transplants) which are much more widely spaced (taking more land, more irrigation water, fertilisers and labour). There are only a handful of bare root wholesale nurseries in the UK and of those even fewer grow transplants but Ray Jenkins has many years' experience of transplanting so we grow these in large volumes. Ray has written this blog about the benefits of bare root plants and how they are grown and another blog which gives further detail on bare root specifications.
The detailed specifications are shown below. If you are in doubt about what specification to use please email us on email@example.com with a description of the project (and photos if appropriate) and we will advise you.
1+0 - field grown in one season from seed, known as a seedling (sometimes called a whip), generally a slender single stem plant. These are the cheapest specification and are particularly suitable for planting where weed competition will be less intense, soil is shallow or on exposed windy sites. Gives a high root to shoot ratio and minimal plant "check".
2+0 - a 2 year seedling, field grown from seed in the same seed bed in two growing seasons where the species cannot be grown to a saleable plant from seed in one season
1U1 - 2 year old plant called an undercut, field grown for two seasons in the same seed bed and undercut by machine (a sharp blade cutting the roots under the soil level) after the first year to develop the root structure. We do this with several species which take 2 years to develop (eg oak, beech, hornbeam)
1+1 - 2 year old plant (transplant) grown from seed in the first year and then transplanted into a different area of the field and spaced out for the second growing season - a robust plant with a larger and more robust root system than seedling or undercut plant which will enable it to better withstand drought and weed competition. Often the best choice and the staple norm for farm hedging and this specification is a requirement of the Countryside Stewardship Grant
1+2- a 3 year old plant, two years field growing in the seedbed and then transplanted (and spaced out) for a further two growing seasons giving a tall, stocky, bushy plant
2+1- a 3 year old plant, two years field growing in the seedbed and then transplanted (and spaced out) for a further growing season, giving a strong bushy plant
3+1 - as above but field grown for a further growing season for more height and a very bushy plant
1+3- 4 year old, one year field growing in the seed beds and then transplanted (and spaced out) for three years, giving a very strong, bushy plant
2+2- 4 year old, two years field growing in the seed beds and then transplanted (and spaced out) for a further two years - a very mature plant suited to certain species like beech and hornbeam where we can offer almost instant hedging
and some that are a bit different.....
P9 - a plant grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel in a 9cm pot (for holly which germinates poorly in the field)
Cell grown - a plant grown in small deep cells (like a small yogurt pot) and then lifted out of those for transportation. Commonly used in forestry and large hedging projects. Very high quality plants with excellent success rate. See our blog on the benefits of cell grown plants.
C+1 or C+2 - a 3 or 4 year old plant initally started as hardwood cuttings grown on for a year as cell grown plants and then lined out in fields to grow on for a further 1 or 2 years (a technique used for Cherry Laurel)