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Betula pendula Fastigiata or European White Birch A variety of Silver birch (Betula Pendula), Betula pendula Fastigiata is a deciduous tree with a narrow upright erect habit. It as many common names including European White Birch, Betula verrucosa Fastigiata and Upright European White Birch.
True to its name, Betula pendula Fastigiata grows in a narrow upright erect form. When young, it develops a pyramid shape but as it matures it takes on a more rounded appearance and boasts arching branches giving it a graceful look. It grows to a height of up to 20 meters with a canopy width of about 9 meters. The branches of the tree have an interesting growth habit and often intertwine as they mature. The European White Birch’s striking bark is a focal point. The bright white bark peels away to reveal dark black fissures that are extremely striking. As the tree matures, dark cracks in the bark stand out in stark contrast next to the white skin-like layer.
During the spring, the male tree develops showy brown catkins. The foliage is a soft green and lacy. Each leaf is toothed and diamond shaped. In the autumn, the leaves turn a bright yellow before falling from the tree. When winter arrives and the snow falls the tree truly stands out because of its black and white bark.
The Betula Pendula Fastigiata does best in cooler climates. In its native habitat, it grows high up in the mountains of Northern Europe at high altitudes. Plant the Upright European White Birch tree in full sun for best growth. It is extremely tolerant of various soils although it does best in dry, acidic conditions. The robust tree can thrive in locations where many other trees fail. It is not uncommon to find it growing on mountain sides, in bog land or clinging to rocky crags. The tree can grow in both wet or dry soil conditions. When first planting, you should add phosphorus to the soil to encourage adequate root development in a young tree.
The Upright European White Birch tree can be planted as a singular specimen with a backdrop of darker plants to truly showcase its unique characteristics. It could also be bunched in corners of the landscape to create a small grove. The tree may even be planted as a privacy screen, windbreak or street tree.