x-Betula utilis var. jacquemontii
This beautiful tree, much loved by designers for its brilliant white trunk and branches makes a stunning feature in a lawn or border.
A vigorous, deciduous tree its oval leaves also turn a bright, sunshine yellow in the autumn and it produces long, brown catkins in the spring, meaning it has something to offer in almost every season. It's lovely planted as a specimen tree in a lawn, the snow white bark glowing against the green grass on bright winters days. If you have the space, jacquemontii look stunning planted closely together in clumps of three or four, giving the impression of multi stem trees, and an under planting of bulbs will complete the picture perfectly. Try snowdrops, aconites and crocus in late winter and early spring to compliment its stark, bare statue. These fabulous trees also stand out in a mixed border and look very stylish planted with Stipa tenuissima for a real designer look.
Plant your betula as you would any tree, in the dormant autumn and winter months, unless the ground is too cold to dig. Betulas perform best in full sun, although they will cope with a little shade and prefer fertile well drained soil, so add lots of organic matter, such as your own garden compost or well rotted animal manure to the planting hole, especially if your soil is on the light side
Water the tree before planting and then remove the pot and tease out the roots, scraping off the top layer of soil from the root ball. Dig a hole that is the same depth as the roots but at least three times the width of the root ball and fork the sides and the base of the hole to loosen the soil. Plant the tree using the soil line mark on the trunk, which indicates the depth it was previously planted at, to get the depth right. Finally, fill in around the roots with compost, firming down as you go to eliminate any air pockets. Lack of water is the most likely cause of death for young trees so keep it well watered until it is established.