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Talking Trees with @FarmerSimonK

The video above came in via Simon Kenny who, for those that are not aware is a farmer based in Kildare. We’d been chatting about trees some time ago and this is his update.

I replied with this video.

I should note, that I am not in any way being critical of Simon and how he does his trees, domestic versus farmland, I personally wouldn’t have used any straps or stakes. I simply think that in my garden [domestic scenarios] they look better and neater when first planted 😉

Simon is @FarmerSimonK on twitter if you wanna ask him a little bit more about his woodland.

Trees: Betula – Utilis versus Pendula

betula utilis jacquemontii bark

The Betula or more commonly known Birch are a genus of around 60 species of deciduous [their leaves fall off in winter, in short] trees that grow extremely well in our Irish climate. By its soft leaved foliage I find it quite feminine in feel and appearance which works really well in softening any landscape or building exterior.

All of our photosynthetic friends have in them at least one outstanding trait for which we want to grow them. In this case, it is without question the birch’s bark. But, like all things great, you get what you pay for and there is always a reason why one is cheaper than the other as I will discuss shortly.

Asking for a Birch, just like any plant, needs to be a lot more definitive. It’s got more than 60 relations of the same second name remember. To these two fellows: The difference between Betula utilis and Betula pendula – couldn’t be that much ? You might be surprised.

Betula utilis

The Himalayan birch is an absolute stunner. As it matures from a young main stem to a tree like trunk its skin peels and develops from a rusty orange tinged brown to a soft pinkish white, then further maturing to a bright smooth as you like, white paper skin.

Although it will do so anyway, I always love the fact that you can peel it off like a bad roll of sellotape. The utilis types are upright [ ie. go against gravity] by their appearance and habit and can grow to about 60′ tall. I have 5 in my garden – worth every single cent and centimetre .

  • recommended: Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’

Betula pendula

The main trait of the Betual Pendula types is that they are all [think about it… pendula, pendulum ~ ie. swing ~ ie. must hang ~ as versus upright] weeping trees by their nature. That said they can still grow up to 80′ tall.

Far more important than that however is that they have a glitch, a flaw in their character. Like the way I’ve never not met a Jack Russell without a dodgy back leg; as the tree matures it’s bark cracks and the newly maturing and indented creases of the bark then turn to black.

In the not so pretty department, it’s not only the bark that’s a bit brutish in appearance and touch as you’ll find the stems of its foliage suffer a similar effect.In comparison, it can be a little scraggy, depending, and just doesn’t cut the mustard in the same way the Betula utilis ‘jacquemontii’ does.

  • recommended: Betula pendula ‘youngii’

Notes:

The key to developing that white bark all over is the crown raising. Strip the lower branches bare, like a telegraph pole and try as best as possible to retain only one leader. this I should add and double underline, is something that is so very important and really should be considered when first selecting and choosing the trees for purchase. The wounds will heal over and what may [possibly] seem a little unfair will pay its dividends.

More information and enquiries:

betula utilis jacquemontii bark

How To: Grow Your Own Trees – Hardwood Cuttings

hardwood cutting

This may sound like the ultimate cliché, but growing your own trees, couldn’t be easier.

The video may explain how to take a hardwood cutting [and also the why] that little bit better than the diagram/ image above.

Keeping it on a simple level – don’t be afraid to have a go – that’s what gardening is all about.

And of course any problems or queries simply leave a comment below or drop me a line via

The points above note:

  • cut made @ 65 degree angle above node
  • stem roughly clean
  • disease free stems
  • cut made straight/ flat below node

And also:

  • stems 12 inches long
  • 3 inches above sand
  • 9 inches below sand