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Birch Tree Root System – Are Birch Roots Invasive?

There are basic three root systems, and these are tap root, heart root, and flat root system. The birch root system is the way roots spread around, under the tree, and spread widely so that a thick mat is created. Invasive roots are those which cause the problem. 

Which will be discussed further.

Birch Tree Root System Explained

Eleven species of birch trees are available all over the place. As the tree grows, the roots spread along with it. The birch tree roots collide together and make a mat of 4 to 8 inches thick and spread throughout the ground area of 40 feet. Some of the birch tree roots can be invasive as well.

Bear with us and find out the root system of the following species of the birch tree –

River birch tree:

River birch trees are found naturally in the south-eastern part of the United States of America. Just like the name, this tree is found along the side of the rivers, and it is one of the fast-growing trees. 

This birch tree is like other birch trees, that is it reaches too deep under the surface. These birch trees are semi-aquatic but these river birch trees are not invasive. 

Silver birch tree:

The silver birch tree is found commonly in the United Kingdom. Generally, these trees are planted in the parks. The main reason to plant these trees is that they are easy to grow and need less nurturing. 

Also, these trees have a silver-colored bark which is remarkable as well. It takes 15 to 25 years for silver birch trees to become mature. Like other birch trees, this tree root can go down to 10 meters, which is about 33 ft long. 

Silver birch trees are not particularly invasive.

Weeping birch tree:

Weeping birch trees are also beautiful as they have got silver bark with stripes on them. These trees are found naturally in Europe, and they can be planted in the northern part of the United States. These trees need less care than silver birch trees. 

Though the color of the birch tree is almost like a silver birch tree, the only difference is the root. The root of the weeping birch tree is invasive.

White birch tree:

White birch can be found in the northern hemisphere, and they inherit the name from the unique white bark they have. These trees can rise to 18 meters or 60 feet tall. And these trees’ roots can spread under the surface as well. 

The main thing about these trees is that the roots are invasive.

Tropical birch tree:

Tropical birch trees are fast-growing, not so long, and have deep green foliage. The bark is not light in color but has a dark cinnamon brown color on them. Tropical Birch tree roots are not invasive.

Clump birch tree:

The clump birch tree is also one of the certain species of river birch. Like the river birch trees, they are naturally found on the bank of the river. And these clump birch trees don’t have any invasive roots.

Himalayan birch tree:

Himalayan birch trees are native to Asia. When these trees become mature, they can get to 40-50 feet long. The Himalayan birch tree’s bark is golden brown in color. The root of these trees can be invasive.

Yellow birch tree:

The yellow birch tree is one of the most beautiful birch trees. It has a distinct golden bark with yellowish leaves. It is one of the most valuable birch trees as well. This tree can grow up to 100 feet, slowly. Moreover, the root of this tree is not invasive.

Does Birch tree have deep roots?

Birch trees can go deep from about 20 feet to 40 feet. The roots don’t go too deep. And they can reach a height of up to 100 ft as well. The best thing about birch trees is that they have bark that has medicinal power in it. 

The roots of birch trees can spread throughout 20 to 40 feet areas and they can form a mat of 4 to 8 inches thick. So, if you plant a birch tree, then you may find the surface underneath is quite firm.
The roots require acidic soil and it needs to have moist land to keep the tree healthy. That’s why these trees are quite good at the riverside or in moist places. The roots can seek moisture, so they can drive themselves through the surface to get water. 

And the mat they create underneath the surface helps the root to get nutrients and water.
The birch tree roots go deeper as they look for nutrients and moisture. 

Also, the roots collide with themselves, and the roots become stronger, and the trees are also strongly attached to the surface. During the initial years of plantation, the root goes deeper and slowly the roots grow slowly.

How Deep Are Birch tree Roots?

Birch trees have shallow roots. They can get only 20 to 40 feet from the surface. The roots are not so small. As the roots don’t go deeper, they form a firm attachment with the surface. 

They create a firm attachment with the surface by spreading throughout the surface and the roots become 4 to 8 inches thick. The mat-type firm attachment with the surface makes both the surface and the tree stand strongly. 

Pretty much all the species of birch trees keep their roots within 12 meters under the surface. They spread around the surface for 10-12 meters as well. It helps them to get more nutrients from the area and that’s how they grow faster.

Do Birch tree spread or multiply?

Birch trees spread, not multiply. A standard space between two birch trees is 6 to 10 feet. Birch tree roots are shallow-rooted trees. The highest depth they go is only 40 feet. Which is about 12 meters. 

These trees don’t multiply but they spread horizontally and make a mat of 4 to 8 inches thick. The preferred location to plant these trees is the open area, where the weather is cool and moist. Also, you should not plant birches near any foundation or pipeline. 

Because some of the birch roots are invasive. As the root will spread around, it might harm the underground structure of any pipeline or any building’s foundation. By planting birch trees, you may not need to take much care if the soil is moist and filled with nutrients. 

Birch is fast growing in the cool, moist areas. Take more care of birch trees where the soil is rough.

Are Birch tree Roots Invasive?

There are about forty birch tree species. Not all of them have invasive roots. Generally, the birch tree roots are quite strong, but not all of them are invasive. Invasive roots invade directly into sidewalks and streets, and sometimes they damage the septic line as well. 

For those invasive roots in birch trees, you need to install root barriers, which will cost you extra money. But, rather than these, you can plant birch trees without invasive roots in them. River birch is highly likable, and they are quite good as well. 

Also, the river birch tree’s roots are not invasive. You can avoid planting white birch or weeping birches. Because these few of the birch tree roots can be invasive. Of the forty birch species, few of them have the invasive root problem, rather than those, all the others are good. 

Also, if you have a pond or river just by your house, then planting birch will be bliss. Because it will keep the riverbed firm and eventually save the house from river erosion. 

So, not all the birch tree roots are bad, some of them provide moisture to the land, and hold the surface firmly. Moreover, birch trees provide immense beauty.

Can Birch tree roots damage foundation or pipes?

Not all the birch tree roots are bad for the foundation or pipes. Only those roots that are invasive can make the foundation or pipelines break down. Generally, birch roots help the surface to be strong as the root can go down up to 40 feet. 

Moreover, the mat they form about 8 inches thick is also quite strong. Some of the species might harm the foundation or pipes, but at the same time, these roots help the surface stay firm. That’s why planting river birch will keep the bank of the river quite firmly. 

And eventually, it helps to reduce erosion. Some species like white birch and weeping birch are considered to have invasive roots. So, don’t plant these species around the corner of the pavement or near any pipeline. 

By doing this small thing, you can avoid damage to foundations or pipelines.

Final Thoughts

There are about forty species of birch. From these species, you can have Asian, European, and American-origin birch trees. Only a few of the birch tree roots are invasive. So, you can plant birch where the weather is cool and moist. Avoid planting birch trees around any foundation or pipeline.