Can white birch be airlayered?

bleumeon

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At a property my parents own there is a large white birch tree in the front yard with nice mature bark. Come by spring (or when suitable) I would like to air layer a branch to develop as bonsai. That said can white birch be viable bonsai material and can it be airlayered?

Thanks,
Julian
 

Alain

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I guess it could be air layer like any other trees however I read that birches aren't very suitable as bonsai because parts of the tree could die like that, for no apparent reason.
 

bleumeon

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I remember reading something similar. The white bark looks great though and I can get a variety of different air layers at no cost to me so I thought it would be worth a shot. Maybe something like a group or forest planting would be more viable with less emphasis on individual branching?
 

M. Frary

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I remember reading something similar. The white bark looks great though and I can get a variety of different air layers at no cost to me so I thought it would be worth a shot. Maybe something like a group or forest planting would be more viable with less emphasis on individual branching?
Birch doesn't even make good firewood.
Why ask if it's suitable for bonsai when you read they suck?
 

sorce

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I think your plan to use them in a forest is excellent, if you lose a branch.....oh well!

They all can be figured out.

It may not live for a thousand years. ......

Or will it?

Will it.

Sorce
 

M. Frary

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No it won't even live for 100 in the right conditions. They are like willows. They grow to die. So the real trees can live off of the nutrient their carcasses put into the soil.
I wouldn't fool with birch at all. Don't even have them in the yard no more. Once one dies the rest are not far behind.
Find something more suitable.
 

sorce

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Debbie!

I get satisfaction from seeing Maros' birch.

Not a lot of satisfaction is very long lived.

Typical Godzilla, Crushing Dreams!
Lol

Sorce
 

M. Frary

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I hate to do it,but why waste time on trees that aren't so great. Don't say practice because when we practice we are supposed to get better. How do you get better when the material you are working on doesn't respond too well to what you're practicing? It would be very discouraging to get a tree to where it looks like something and then the next year have it die.
I see this a lot here. What did I dig up? Is it good for bonsai?
I read it isn't good material but I'm doing it anyway.
And someone agrees with them that doesnt know a thing either and now it's great material and the people who tell them not to waste their time don't know crap or are being mean.
Sometimes it isn't crushing dreams or thead crapping.. It's good advice.
So on that note people go ahead use birches,willows red maples,eastern white pine or whatever else you can dig up and give it a go! Maybe a miracle will happen.
Then again maybe I'll sprout bat wings out my back and flap around the room.
 

sorce

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Son of a Birch!

Valid. Valid!

I still think there is a way, it just hasn't been found.
On top of that, Birch are beautiful trees.

You could do them like some guys do wives, one after the other!

A lot of people make ice sculptures, sand castles, for moments of enjoyment much shorter lived than a Birch!

Sorce
 

music~maker

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Birch doesn't even make good firewood.
Why ask if it's suitable for bonsai when you read they suck?
Birch may not make great firewood, but it's an amazing fire starter. Best natural fire starter I know of. The resin in the bark will even light up when it's raining.

Birch is definitely a challenging species, but I'm convinced it's not impossible, and it's definitely not without value. I have a river birch in my collection that taunts me throughout the year that I haven't given up on yet. I've enjoyed working with it enough that I'll probably get another one if/when I outlive it.

But yes, the downsides are there. They don't live an incredibly long time, and they die back brutally if you prune them incorrectly. But there's a certain beauty to them, and I enjoy trying to tame the wild beast. They do back bud, they can have good ramification, they have killer bark, and even larger branches stay flexible for a while so you can manipulate them.

Absolutely not a beginner's tree, and not for those without a lot of patience for set backs, but one I've found pretty rewarding to play around with.

Like Sorce said, people get lots of pleasure out of building sand castles that just wash away within a day. Birch is my sand castle. I just enjoy it for what it is.
 

michaelj

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I think they are worth doing simply because they are so beautiful. And if you managed to maintain a few for a decade or two, people will enjoy seeing them specifically because they have so many challenges to them. You just have to resign yourself that it's a species that will not outlast your other trees, and it will force you to redesign your presentation from time to time.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Can't speak to longevity, but my friend Si has a really nice birch bonsai... He's had it for years - maybe I can get him to comment about it.
 

bleumeon

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Thanks for the replies. I understand the difficulties in working with it and the reasoning for discouraging others in doing so is completely valid. I'd just thought that it would be a fun side project. If it doesn't work out, no harm done. Its a nice mature tree with great looking bark so I'd thought I might as well try.
 

kennyG

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We’ve got a white birch in the neighborhood with the most beautiful, whitest bark you’ve ever seen, even the smallest of twigs. Been planing to air root it next spring, and will do so, in spite of the nasty remarks herein! No need for that. I’ve lost more than one tree that I was attempting to bonsai.... I could survive another. Joy is in the process of doing and sharing. Try looking up.
 

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