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The bonsai culture, which traditionally comes from the Far East, brings whole trees in small format directly into your own four walls or into the garden in a cute way. You can find out here whether the birch is suitable as a bonsai and how best to cultivate and maintain a dwarf tree of the Betula genus.

The birch is also impressive in miniature format

Birch as bonsai

Among friends of the art of the tree in the pot - what the word bonsai means when translated - creations made from birch plants are considered rarities. The birch has a reputation for being quite a difficult bonsai. Because it needs a location that is intensively sun-drenched or at least very light penumbra and can quickly shed an entire branch if it is excessively dry. Despite these capricious properties of the tree, which is so hardy in the wild, bonsai breeding is worthwhile: because if the general conditions are right, an extremely impressive little tree will grow.

First steps to bonsai birch

Anyone who dares to use a birch as a bonsai can buy ready-made small dwarf trees in the garden center, in the tree nursery or in special bonsai nurseries. Alternatively, there is sometimes a so-called Yamadori in the wild, i.e. digging up and planting a small tree as a boulder. In addition, you can grow your little birch from seeds. In the pot, you should definitely ensure the best possible drainage. This means that the water must be able to drain off well.

Position the bonsai in full sun to partial shade, but avoid intense heat. This can dry out the substrate. However, birches are basically trees that need a lot of light, and the trunk only shines in its characteristic white if enough light is available.

Pruning bonsai birch properly

The nice thing about cultivating your own bonsai trees is that you can give them exactly the shape you want by pruning them. Whenever you cut your bonsai birch, however, it is important to treat the cut immediately with a wound protection agent, as birch trees are very prone to infections. Refrain from pruning your birch in spring and summer. Due to the intense water flow in this phase, the dwarf tree could bleed to death. It is better to choose the period between November and February.

The birch usually provides the design options itself through its natural growth form. For a pruning, shorten new shoots from ten leaves to about two leaves. The wiring typical of bonsai cultivation is possible. However, due to the rapid growth of the birch, you should always replace the wires in a timely manner. To avoid cold fractures in winter, avoid wiring this season.

How to care for your bonsai birch

  • Repot annually due to strong root development, preferably in autumn or early spring
  • Only cut the roots before the first sprouting, as freshly cut roots are not immediately frost-resistant
  • water daily when it is hot
  • Never let the substrate dry out, but avoid waterlogging
  • Fertilize after the first leaves have sprout until autumn
  • For the winter, it is best to dig the ball into the garden soil or keep it in a box with a mixture of sand and peat on the balcony or terrace.

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