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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

 

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3 hours ago, Kal said:

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? 

Light plus water is what trees want.  White pot will help. Bit of gel in soil too, i know Germany can have hot summers. K

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2 hours ago, Khriss said:

Light plus water is what trees want.  White pot will help. Bit of gel in soil too, i know Germany can have hot summers. K

I think they are due for 2nd thinnings . Get the fat ones felled and get them road side  £48 a ton .  🙂

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22 hours ago, Kal said:

 

A little bird or squirrel planted a silver birch in my flower boxes

 

More likely the seeds self set, I get hundreds every year off the tree at the bottom of the garden. They are tiny you could fit 20 on a thumbnail and they blow everywhere in a strong wind, sometimes there are so many they block the gutters. The tree is getting trimmed back and will have to come down soon as it has started to rot at the bottom.

PJBS6.jpg

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On 22/04/2021 at 16:24, agg221 said:

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

Alrighty, got the scragglier one tied down with some knitting yarn. The other one we are going to let be wild and free :)

Pictures to follow once the tie-town has taken. 

Thanks for the tips. I need to find some new trees.

 

You guys know anything about Witch Hazel? Hamamelis Japonica, for example?  There is a beautiful one in the local park here but, despite several attempts, am not able to take a cutting and propagate it. I always check to see if there is a little seedling nearby, but since it appears to be the only one around, I guess that doesn't happen too easily. 

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2 hours ago, Kal said:

Alrighty, got the scragglier one tied down with some knitting yarn. The other one we are going to let be wild and free :)

Pictures to follow once the tie-town has taken. 

Thanks for the tips. I need to find some new trees.

 

You guys know anything about Witch Hazel? Hamamelis Japonica, for example?  There is a beautiful one in the local park here but, despite several attempts, am not able to take a cutting and propagate it. I always check to see if there is a little seedling nearby, but since it appears to be the only one around, I guess that doesn't happen too easily. 

Take a shovel next time.... 😉 K

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1 minute ago, Kal said:

😆

Think of it like 'adoption' or 'fostering'   😊 K

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How have you been taking your Hamamelis cuttings?  They should work from softwood cuttings - wait until shoots are about 10-15cm long of this year's growth and are flexible but no longer soft. Take a plastic bag with you as you take the cutting, pinch out the top as far back as it is soft enough to pinch, to just above a leaf. Take all the lower leaves off except the top two and put the cuttings straight into the bag.

 

As soon as you get them home, put them in a pot of either perlite and vermiculite, or sand (not quite as good but still works). You could use hormone rooting powder if you wanted. Put up to 4 or 5 cuttings in a 10cm pot, around the edge, get the potting mix well watered and then put the whole lot in a clear or transluscent plastic bag to stop it from drying out, and put the bag on a windowsill or other bright spot that doesn't get direct sunlight. After a fortnight, check carefully for roots every week or so. Once a cutting has rooted, pot it up and keep it wrapped in a bag, gradually opening it a bit more every day or so. First sign of wilting, wrap it up again but if no wilting it will take about 5 days to acclimatise it so it can stay unwrapped. From 5 cuttings you should get 2 or 3 to root that way.

 

Alec

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