Thursday, October 27, 2011

Birches & Maples - Maree

Alone with myself
The trees bend to caress me
The shade hugs my heart.
~Candy Polgar

W&N watercolour in small hand-made sketch-book with hand-crafted satin-finish Linen paper

Birch trees and Maples, two of my favourites, which I rarely plant, firstly because they are not indigenous to South Africa and secondly, both the Birches and Maples require enormous amounts of water. Another reason for not planting a Birch is that, on a healthy Birch, the roots will spread to a distance of at least twice the tree's height. This means that the roots of a mature tree may cover an area about one third the size of a football field. I found the roots very invasive, easily penetrating sewerage and water pipes, often causing great damage to our septic tanks, as it is a great source of moisture.

I read on the internet, "To properly water a Birch, place a soaker hose upside down around the perimeter of the canopy or drip line of the tree and let the water run very slowly for several hours. The water should be applied slowly enough to filter into the soil and not run off. Once the soil is moist do a depth of 60 to 100 centimeters enough water has been provided. A Birch tree should be watered in this way every two or three weeks, and more frequently during hot dry windy weather." That's definitely not going to happen around here, water is much too precious to spend so much on just one tree. My friend, in whose garden these trees are, has an elaborate automatic sprinkling system, every gardener's dream, but they have Municipal water and are not reliant on a borehole like we are out in the country


  1. Thank you, Maree, this is lovely, and the information on how to care for them is so important!

  2. Maree, You should come and visit ! I live where there are forests of maples and birches. I have hundred + year old maples in my yard. I love them too !

  3. Thank you Kate! I used to have 5 Birches, in my previous garden, and they made a beautiful feature clustered together, but they never ever reached their full potential because of too little watering.

  4. What a gorgeous sight that must be Mary, how blessed you are! I certainly would love to see that, have only seen them en masse here on the internet and on TV!


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