White Barked Birch Betula utilis Snow Queen

British Grown
Volume 1+
Price per plant £336.00
Price £336.00

All prices include VAT

Product description



There is little to differentiate Snow Queen and Betula jacquemontii other than the fact that Snow Queen displays its gleaming white bark earlier in its life.  The branches are upright and the ultimate tree shape fairly pyramidal.  It displays catkins in the spring and the green leaves turn buttery yellow in the autumn.  It is often listed as ‘Doorenbos’.  The ultimate height is approximately 15m (50ft) with a spread of 8m (25ft)

Where to Grow

It will grow in a wide range of situations but prefers full sun or partial shade and moist but well drained soil.

Did you know?

There is a wonderful collection of Himalayan Birch with a range of white shaded bark colours at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens.

Mature height
Medium - 10-15 metres
5-10 meters
Growth rate
Soil type
All soil types
Sun levels
Full sun
Partial shade
Difficulty/hard to grow
Season of interest
Autumn colour
Fine/Light leaf
Small leaves
Peeling bark?
Parkland Tree
Garden Tree
Small garden Tree
City/Urban Sites


Pruning Betula Utilis Snow Queen

Betula utilis Snow Queen has no special pruning requirements as it naturally forms a well-spaced pyramidal tree. You can prune out young twiggy growth to better display the bark, but otherwise keep pruning to a minimum. It is best to remove any unwanted branches sprouting from the trunk while they are young to minimise scarring.

When should I prune? Light prune during the autumn, through to mid-winter.

For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.


The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water.  It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level of the tree.  In hot dry spells give the equivalent of 2 bucketfuls every three days.

Weed Control

One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass.  When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree.  It is vital for 3 years after planting that your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one  metre wide completely free of grass.  The way to eliminate grass in order of effectiveness is:

  1. Spray off the grass with a glyphosate based weed killer such as Roundup.  Apply each year for the first 3 years.  It is best applied when the tree is dormant as it is absorbed through green leaves and kills the plant off at the roots.
  2. Firmly fit a mulch mat around the base of the tree by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this.  This can be done after the initial spraying with glyphosate and should avoid the need for further spraying.

Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem.  Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks.


If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree.  Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm.  The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots.   Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.

Bellow is list of the correct system to use to secure your trees.

  • 40/60, 60/80, 80/100 whips - Unless rabbit/deer problem no need to stake.
  • 100/125, 125/150  1.2m Cane and Easi tie.
  • 150/175  1.2m square stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • 175/250, 6/8, 8/10 15L 1.65 Tree stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • All larger trees. 2 x 1.65 Tree stake and cross rail with 38mm cushion spacer and 1m of 38mm strapping.


Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping.  These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens.  Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.

Protection from Animal Damage

Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees.  Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge.  Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.


By Ingrid on 06/05/2016

Dear Sir/Madame,

I bought a few months ago a Betula Utilis (Snow Queen) - 15L from you. I’ve planted it and it has now got its leaves and is doing very well. My question is : as the tree has branches from the very bottom to the top I would like to prune it to a ‘standard’ shape - When can I do this and how many branches can I take off (how high can I go)?

Your help is very much appreciated!

Many thanks and kind regards,

By Simon on 20/05/2016

Hello Ingrid,

Birches are best pruned in late summer to autumn, as they can bleed a lot of sap if pruned while in active growth. Ideally you need to leave plenty of branches intact at the top, so you could take off branches up to two-thirds of the total height as long as there is plenty of foliage left on the tree. You can then raise the canopy further in subsequent years, again waiting till late August or September before attempting to do this.

By Melvin on 03/06/2016

Hi , on the 6/9 foot trees , is the bark already white ? Regards Mel.

By Simon on 08/06/2016

Hello Melvin,

Having had a look at our current stock in 15L pot size, I’d say that some of them have lots of white bark showing, while a few are still quite brown but not far off revealing the white stem.

By Janet on 05/02/2017

I purchased a Betula utilise Snow Queen about 4 years ago. It doesn’t seem to be growing very fast about 12-18 inches . The soil is mixed with an underlying clay. We mixed grit for draining and root grow when planting.We top dress the soil and also use natural fertilisers. The roots are not in the clay. Are we doing the right things and are we expecting it to grow too quickly?



By Simon on 08/02/2017

Dear Janet,

Growth of 12-18 inches a year isn’t bad, but you might expect a bit more at this stage. It’s important to keep the base free of competition in the early years, so remove grass to a diameter of 3ft around the base. If you would like further advice please email a photo to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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