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Kal

Silver Birch Babies

Question

Hi,

 

A little bird or squirrel planted a silver birch in my flower boxes, and I thought I would nurture them. I've just replanted in some hummus-heavy earth and compost and I think they are quite happy. 

 

Can I top top them to make two larger trunks? 

 

Or train them down to different shapes? 

 

Or somehow make a bonsai by trimming a lot back? 

 

Clearly I am messing with nature here a bit, and the best would be to let nature run its course, but I am curious on how much I can experiment here. 

 

https://imgur.com/a/JAH4rbu

 

 

 

Thanks,
Kal

 

<blockquote class="imgur-embed-pub" lang="en" data-id="a/JAH4rbu" data-context="false" ><a href="//imgur.com/a/JAH4rbu"></a></blockquote><script async src="//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

20210422_121007.jpg

20210422_120952.jpg

20210422_120046.jpg

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Do what everyone else does. Plant them a foot away from a fence and then wonder why the hell there's a sodding great tree right on the boundary in 20 years time. 

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Careful of soil drying out as yr clearly getting a lot of sun in that spot, maybe put some shading mesh on railings  to stop pot being cooked by the sun. K

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1 hour ago, Kal said:

Hi,

 

A little bird or squirrel planted a silver birch in my flower boxes, and I thought I would nurture them. I've just replanted in some hummus-heavy earth and compost and I think they are quite happy. 

 

Can I top top them to make two larger trunks? 

 

Or train them down to different shapes? 

 

Or somehow make a bonsai by trimming a lot back? 

 

Clearly I am messing with nature here a bit, and the best would be to let nature run its course, but I am curious on how much I can experiment here. 

 

https://imgur.com/a/JAH4rbu

 

 

 

Thanks,
Kal

 

<blockquote class="imgur-embed-pub" lang="en" data-id="a/JAH4rbu" data-context="false" ><a href="//imgur.com/a/JAH4rbu"></a></blockquote><script async src="//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

20210422_121007.jpg

20210422_120952.jpg

20210422_120046.jpg

As you said your experimenting,so have a go at what you reckon and see what the outcome is,all part of the fun 

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1 hour ago, Retired Climber said:

Do what everyone else does. Plant them a foot away from a fence and then wonder why the hell there's a sodding great tree right on the boundary in 20 years time. 

Looking at the pictures it don,t look like they have got a boundary fence,just a balcony,probably not the best of replies to someones first post on the forum,they were only asking for a bit of advice

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4 minutes ago, gary112 said:

Looking at the pictures it don,t look like they have got a boundary fence,just a balcony,probably not the best of replies to someones first post on the forum,they were only asking for a bit of advice

I'm quite interested in these boundaries you speak of... what exactly are we trying to do here ;)

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12 minutes ago, gary112 said:

As you said your experimenting,so have a go at what you reckon and see what the outcome is,all part of the fun 

does it make a difference if I cut low (like half way down) or only new (green) growth? 

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1 hour ago, Khriss said:

Careful of soil drying out as yr clearly getting a lot of sun in that spot, maybe put some shading mesh on railings  to stop pot being cooked by the sun. K

Alrighty, good thing it is only April. I would never have thought of that. Perhaps I'll paint the pot white. In terms of the growth, it will be getting full 10 hour sun here in Germany this summer... should be fine? 

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4 minutes ago, Kal said:

I'm quite interested in these boundaries you speak of... what exactly are we trying to do here ;)

It wasn,t me who said it.

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1 hour ago, Retired Climber said:

Do what everyone else does. Plant them a foot away from a fence and then wonder why the hell there's a sodding great tree right on the boundary in 20 years time. 

I'm quite interested in these boundaries you speak of... what exactly are we trying to do here ;)

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I think you have a few choices - the main one being the size you want to keep them at. If you are going to plant them out eventually then they will do best as full sized trees with an upright main stem, so let them grow as big as you can, the plant them out and grow some more. If however you want to keep them for longer on your balcony, you will have to decide what size you really want them to reach and keep them trimmed to that. At the smallest size, yes you could bonsai them but keeping them from drying out may be difficult on the balcony. If you want them as small trees then the size of the pot will determine the size of the tree. It is hard to say exactly what size pots they are in, but approximately a 50-60cm pot should allow them to grow happily to about 2m tall. You will have to change some of the compost every few years and trim the roots back, and the shoots more regularly, but they will do OK, just like a rather big bonsai.

 

The shape is up to you. It is best to cut back to a bud or a branch as any piece of the plant which does not have any buds to shoot will die and either then need cutting off or will slowly rot away. When they are small like that, you can generally see where the new buds would grow from. If you want to change the shape more on existing branches you can bend them around by tying them up or down with string, or bending wire around the trunk and out onto the branch. Leave it in place for a few weeks and it will mostly have taken the new shape, just don't leave it on too long though or it will dig in.

 

Enjoy them!

 

Alec

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