Sunday, 7 February 2016

Tree Following 2016 - Betula Crimson Frost

I had fully intended getting out and about finding a mature tree to follow for this year's Tree Following posts.  However, I have been laid up with a really bad cold again and could not summon the energy to get myself suited, booted and out there for a walk.  And to be honest the weather is not exactly enticing me to have much of a wander around the locale either.  I have opted to follow yet another tree from my garden.

Technically my tree is not quite a tree yet.  It is still a very small specimen.  A sapling really. You may be wondering then just why I've chose this particular tree especially when there are others to choose from.  I chose it because my wee sapling is a casualty of Storm Gertrude and I am not sure if it is worth saving.  My immediate thought was to remove and replace but decided after sleeping on it that the very least it deserves a bit of a chance.  I shall persevere with it for now. 

Betula Crimson Frost has been in my garden since Autumn 2014.  It found a home in my garden after coming across it at my local nursery.  I wrote about it here.  I had high hopes.  It's narrow upright growth meant it was ideal for my garden.  Eventually it will provide a bit of privacy between us and the neighbours over the back.  I should add that the old nosy neighbours are gone and the new ones, which I have not been introduced to yet, seem to be quite the opposite.  The white peeling bark and purple foliage means there is year round interest too.  It has/had everything it needed to make a wonderful statement in years to come.   



I discovered the damage last weekend.  My sapling had snapped in two places and ultimately it's height has been reduced by around 50%.   I sought some advice and it seems all is not lost but I will more than likely end up with a multi stemmed specimen instead. Apparently multi stemmed specimens are more in vogue anyway.  However, I don't know enough about how these things work and just what eventual shape my once single stemmed, narrow upright tree will take.  I am hoping by watching this tree more closely over the coming months I will have a better idea of what I might want to do with it.  I am a tad apprehensive though.  Will I end up with a massively over wide tree that will at some point need to be removed?  If only I could fast forward 5 or so years.   


I was advised to make a clean cut below the break and remove the support I had offered it. The buds will break in spring and I will have the option of either removing all except the top shoot or growing them all to have a multi stemmed tree.  

Having removed the stake I felt as though it was still very flimsy.  What to do?  I found a spare tree stake in the shed and this time offered it up near the base. My wee tree seems to have developed a bit of a kink in the trunk too.  I wonder if my poor choice of support has caused this. Perhaps it will add character as the tree matures or it will straighten itself out now that it is free to grow just as it wants.

I find it hard to imagine that this wee twig will one day become a thing of beauty.


Betula Crimson Frost February 2016
And just in case you are wondering what the future holds, well read for yourself!

Betula Crimson Frost is a purple-leaved birch whose parents are Betula platyphylla var.szechuanica and Betula pendula ‘Purpurea’. It is a small to medium sized tree.  Upright, narrow-pyramidal shape. It is noted for its burgundy-red to purple foliage and exfoliating white bark with cinnamon hues. Foliage acquires orange, red and yellow shades in autumn. Tiny monoecious flowers appear in early spring in separate catkins on the same tree. Female flowers are followed by drooping cone-like fruits containing numerous small winged seeds that typically mature in late summer. 

Thanks for reading.  See you over at The Squirrelbasket.