A knee-high birch

Silver birch (Betula pendula) `Trost`s Dwarf` attains 1,5 m height and similar width only when fully mature, within several years from planting. Its growth rate is exceptionally slow. It eventually forms a shrub or a  multistemmed tree. Tiny leaves are deeply incised and remind of the foliage of Japanese acers (A. palmatum dissectum), while its thin and elegant branches arch gracefully downwards. Viewing from afar, the foliage looks rather lacelike. It is very suitable for planting in Japanese style gardens as replacement for Japanese acers because of its similar appearance and complete resistance to sun or cold. It is also well suited to growing in rockeries, provided soil is sufficiently fertile and water-retentive. It looks best when planted among stones (granite), or paired with ornamental grasses at the edge of a small waterfall or a stream. Do not plant it in the vicinity of vigorous shrubs or large scale perennials where it would soon be overwhelmed.

In autumn its foliage turns yellow. `Trost‘s Dwarf` does not require any pruning, however, if you must do this, prune it in summer, after the leaves have [banner] fully developed. When pruned in spring, the tree bleeds profusely, which might weaken the plant or kill it altogether. It is best grown in moist fertile soil, in sunhine or semi-shade.

© Giedra Bartas 2014

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