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The plain silver or common birch, sometimes called 'the lady of the woods' because of its outstanding elegance, is a great landscape feature, especially in autumn and while still young - older trees can become enormous, but without dominating or shading the garden too much. When planted 60cm (2ft) apart, the trees make a fine hedge, or may be grown 2.4m (8ft) apart as a screen or windbreak, which can be trimmed each winter. Growth is upright, later slightly weeping, especially the young outer stems - trim shoots off the trunk to reveal the attractive bark. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Plant type: Native tree
Foliage colour: Mid-green
Feature: Colourful bark, Flowers
Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade
Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Acidic, Moist, Sandy
Skill level: Beginner
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