The silver birch is a medium-sized deciduous tree that owes its common name to the white peeling bark on the trunk
The tree supports a wide range of insects and the light shade it casts allows shrubby and other plants to grow beneath its canopy. It is planted decoratively in parks and gardens and is used for forest products such as joinery timber, firewood, tanning, racecourse jumps and brooms. Various parts of the tree are used in traditional medicine and the bark contains triterpenes which have been shown to have medicinal properties. It can also be used as a natural dye yellow for the leaves and the bark makes a brown or pink.
It needs plenty of light and does best on dry, acid soils and is found on heath land, mountainsides and clinging to crags. Its tolerance to pollution make it suitable for planting in industrial areas and exposed sites
If using in as hedge: All species in a wildlife hedge can be cut back or “Coppiced” without harm. In the 1st year after establishment the hedge can be cut back to stimulate growth of the hedge from the base thereafter cut every 2-3 years. If the weather is unsuitable for planting or receiving the hedging, dig a hole and bury the roots of the bunched plants, they can be held like that till planting. After planting it is advantageous to mulch the hedge with lawn mowing or leaf mould to suppress weeds and also be done with plastic or carpet cuts and covered with soil.