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Betula pubescens (Downy Birch)

Betula pubescens


£0.90 Per Plant £0.75 Per Plant

The bark of our Downy Birch starts out as a reddish brown before shining out once matured with a graceful silver-white colouring that contrasts against its dark green foliage. Its bark remains smooth right down to the base making it very popular for it’s unique looks. Its dark leaves during the summer turn a scorching golden-yellow in autumn. This particular tree thrives well anywhere including in cities.

Exclusive grower of RHS Hedging Plants
Betula pubescens (Downy Birch)
Betula pubescens (Downy Birch) Betula pubescens (Downy Birch) Betula pubescens (Downy Birch) Betula pubescens (Downy Birch) Betula pubescens (Downy Birch) Betula pubescens (Downy Birch)
Order now for delivery in 3-4 working days. Once you have received your RHS Bare Roots they should be planted within 2-3 days after delivery. Please be aware, larger orders may be sent on a pallet.
Grouped product items
Per Bundle
Type Bare Root Height 30-40cm Age 1 Year (1+0) Delivery 3-4 Days Plants Per Bundle 25 1+ £27.00 £22.50 (£0.90 Per Plant) (£1.08 Per Plant) 2+ £25.50 £21.25 (£1.02 Per Plant) (£0.85 Per Plant) 10+ £24.00 £20.00 (£0.96 Per Plant) (£0.80 Per Plant) 20+ £22.50 £18.75 (£0.90 Per Plant) (£0.75 Per Plant)
Type Bare Root Height 60-80cm Age 2 Years (1+1) Delivery 3-4 Days Plants Per Bundle 25 1+ £46.50 £38.75 (£1.55 Per Plant) (£1.86 Per Plant) 2+ £43.80 £36.50 (£1.75 Per Plant) (£1.46 Per Plant) 10+ £42.60 £35.50 (£1.70 Per Plant) (£1.42 Per Plant) 20+ £40.80 £34.00 (£1.63 Per Plant) (£1.36 Per Plant)

The bark of our Downy Birch is what sets it apart from other trees. After starting out as a reddish brown, it shines out once matured with its graceful silver-white colouring that contrasts against its dark green foliage. Unlike the more common Silver Birch, the Downy Birch’s branches are more upright and form less of a drooping canopy.  Rather than splintering and splitting as it matures, the bark remains smooth right down to the base of the tree, making it very popular for its unique looks. 

All of our Downy Birch is grown here in the UK, in our own unique iron-rich soil. Its nutritious and mineral-rich composition helps our Downy Birch produce exceptional dark green leaves during the summer, before turning to a scorching golden-yellow in the autumn. In the spring, you’ll also see mahogany-spotted catkins drooping down from the branches alongside them. The catkins hold thousands of winged seeds which are freely scattered by the wind, and are favoured by many species of bird.

With all those slender branches you might think that our Downy Birch is a delicate tree, but thanks to being grown at our nursery here in the UK in an area with tough and varied weather, our Downy Birch is super tough and hardy, ready for anything our climate can throw at it.

They’re fast growing, and you can expect to top over 30m high on maturity. City pollution doesn’t affect them much, and they thrive well anywhere, even in cities. They’re not too picky about soil either, although we’d recommend damper conditions for the best growth. Since ours have been grown without being dependant on any chemical fertilisers (we use only natural green compost for all our plants), you can use your own household compost to get just as great results in the future.

More Information
Hardiness RatingH4
Foliage Colour (Main Interest)Yellow
Flower ColourYellow
HabitColumnar / Upright
Ultimate Height12m +
Ultimate Spread4-8m
Time to Ultimate Height (years)20-50 years
Rate of Growth (per year)Average (20-40cm)
Soil MoistureWell-drained, Moist but well-drained
Soil TypeChalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral
Skill RatingBeginner
AvailabilityJanuary, February, March, April, November, December
Amount of SunlightFull Sun, Partial Shade
Weather ExposureExposed, Sheltered
AspectNorth-Facing, East-Facing, South-Facing, West-Facing
Other FeaturesAttractive peeling bark
Delivery Time1 Working Day

How To Plant Bare Root Hedges


Watch our RHS guide to Planting Bare Roots. Hedge Nursery is the exclusive grower of RHS endorsed Hedges That Thrive.

Ground Preparation

Plants will not grow where soil contains too little air, insufficient nutrients or where soil moisture is either excessive or insufficient. Pre-planting soil preparation should aim to improve these conditions:

       • Loosen the soil generally to eliminate compaction and improve drainage

       • Weed the planting area (approx. 30cm each side of the trench)

       • Improve soil fertility by using fertiliser, organic matter and lime

       • Ideally, assess the need for lime with a soil pH test

       • Improving the soil for a wide area (2-3m (6½-10ft) around the plant) is best practice

If soils are waterlogged over winter consider installing drainage, or an alternative is to plant on a slight mound, about 25-30cm (10-12in) high and 1m (39in) in diameter. Excess moisture can kill the finer roots, which become blackened and sour smelling. Wet roots are more susceptible to disease, especially Phytophthora.

How to Plant your Bare Root Plants

       • Remove plants from their tightly wrapped bag (some specimen trees specify that the wrapping be left on under the terms of their guarantee).

       • Tease out and spread the roots to get an idea of their spread. Dig a planting hole that is no deeper than the roots, but is up to three times the diameter of the root system.

       • It is always best to plant in a square hole to aid root establishment.

        If the sides or base of the planting hole are compacted, break the soil up with a fork before planting

       • With container grown plants, the top layers of compost should be scraped away, and the point where the roots flare out should be near the soil surface. 

        Place in the planting hole and refill the planting hole carefully, placing soil between and around all the roots to eliminate air pockets

       • When planting it is very important that the plant is not planted too deep, plant at the same level as it was at the nursery.

        There will be a clear indication on the stem of how deep the roots were in the ground, planting any deeper can cause the stem to rot and the plant to fail.

    How Much Watering to do Once Planted

    For all watering needs, to ensure your plants thrive, take a look at our sister site Water Irrigation. Click here to view our large range of irrigation products, perfect for keeping your plants well watered and thriving.

    Weeding Advice

    Weeds, lawns and other vegetation intercept water before it reaches the roots of newly planted trees and shrubs. It is best to keep a vegetation-free circle at least 1.2m (4ft) in diameter around the plant for its first three years to help avoid this problem. Keep the circle weed free through hoeing or use of contact or systemic weed killers. Laying mulch over this circle is also helpful, although take care to leave a collar of 10cm (4in) around the woody stems that is free of mulch, to prevent the risk of rotting the tree bark.

    Staking and Protecting your Plant

    Where possible trees and shrubs should be staked using Bamboo Canes as soon as they are planted, this is to prevent wind rock, and the movement of the roots. Most plants will take a couple of growing seasons to become fully anchored in the soil. The stakes should be checked regularly and any that are damaged or not fully supporting the plant should be replaced. If you have an issue with pests, most notably rabbits, you can wrap a Plastic Spiral Tree Guard around the base/stems of the plant to prevent animals gnawing on the bark.

    Why Buy Bare Root Plants

    Bare root plants are the perfect choice when you are creating a hedge on a budget. This method of planting is the most cost and time efficient, allowing us to pass those savings on to you, and significant discounts are available for buying bare root plants in bulk. Grown outdoors in its basic form all year round - No pot, no peat, no heat - our bare root stock comes with the added assurance that it’s acclimatised to British winters, hardy as nature intended. Grown from seed in rich Herefordshire soil all our bare roots plants are available at varying sizes and ages to fit any hedge development.

    Bare root plants are lifted to order from November until March when they are dormant to reduce the shock of transplanting them. Bare Root hedging is delivered without soil on the roots. this means that you don't have to pay for the weight of the soil as you would with a Root Balled plant, making them more cost effective. We recommend that all Bare Root hedging plants should be planted as soon as possible as the plant is still alive and the roots need to be kept moist.

    If you are unable to immediately plant your bare roots plants, we recommend a number of storage guidelines to ensure they remain healthy out of the ground. Store them in a cool, dry, dark location, making sure they are not exposed to any wind or frost. Do not soak the roots in a bucket of water as they will retain the right amount of moisture needed, you can water them well once they are planted if you are concerned the roots are too dry.

    How we Measure Our Bare Root Plants

    Our plants are usually measured by height - '30-40cm' means a plant is between 30cm and 40cm high measured from soil level to the top of the plant - the roots are not included in the measurement.

    They are then carefully graded by height, batched into bundles of 25 or 10, boxed and dispatched straight to your door within 72 hours of picking to ensure freshness.
    (0/1) 1 Year Old - Hardwood cutting taken from a strong, healthy shoot on a mature plant. Cutting is  grown outdoors for 1 year to develop a healthy root system.
    (1+0) 1 Year Old - 1 year seedling grown at wide spacing. Seedling is undercut (roots are trimmed below the soil) during the growing season to promote a compact and fibrous root system and regulate plant height. This makes it a cheaper specification suitable when planting where weed competition will be less intense, soil is shallow or on exposed windy sites. Give high root to shoot ratio and minimal plant 'check'.
     (1+1) 2 Year Old - Our 1 year old seedlings have been grown in seed beds and then lined out for 1 year. They commonly range from 40-60cms or 60-80cms and is often the best choice and the staple norm. Gives robust plant with fibrous and compact roots.
    (1u1) 2 Year Old - Our 1 year old seedlings are undercut and grown in situ for 1 further year. The effect of this gives a slimmer, straighter plant.
    (1+2) 3 Year Old - Our 1 year old seedlings have been grown in seed beds and then lined out for 2 years. The effect of this gives a stocky, bushier plant.
    (2+1) 3 Year Old - 2 year old plant lined out for a further year. Gives stockier, bushier plant.
    (1+3) 4 Year Old - 1 year old seedling grown in seed bed then lined out for 3 years. Gives stocky, bushier plant.
    (2+2) 4 Year Old - 2 year old plant lined out for 2 further years. Gives stocky, bushier plant.


    Planting your hedging plants at the correct distance is essential for ensuring a great end result. The type of hedge you require will determine the planting style and distance of your plants.

    A single row works well in most garden environments, however a double staggered planting design is great for creating a dense hedge to deter intruders or to create a wind break.

    There are a number of variables that will decide the planting distance of your hedging plants; how vigorous a plant is, its habit, form and spread will all play a role in the final appearance of your hedge. For example: Bare root Yew should not really be planted any closer than 3 plants per metre due to its vast established spread, whereas a tight Box hedge should be planted with 5 plants in a single row.

    Our rough guide of planting distances:

    Plant Height Recommended Planting Density
    Up to 100cm 3-5 per metre for a single row
    Up to 100cm 5-7 per metre for a double row
    100 - 175cm 3 per metre for a single row
    100 - 175cm 5 per metre for a double row
    175cm + 2 per metre for a single row
    175cm + 4 per metre for a double row

    Remember that these planting densities should be used as a guide only.

    Why our RHS plants are better

    Hedge Images


    Down in Herefordshire on the edge of the Malvern Hills, across hundreds of acres of outstanding countryside, you’ll find us hard at work growing the toughest and healthiest plants in the UK. 

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    Hedge Images


    We’ve been working hard for years, planting 100,000 seedlings every day and supplying the strongest hedges to every corner of the UK. How do we do it? Now’s your chance to find out. 

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    Hedge Images


    Every seed we plant is traceable, and comes from the best possible source for the best possible plants. A good seed deserves good soil, and ours is as  nutritious as it gets - and we’ve got over 220 acres of the stuff! 

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    Hedge Images


     Solar power, green composts, and no nasty chemicals. At every step of the journey, we make sure that what we do doesn’t harm our environment or the local wildlife.

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