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The birch does not have a good reputation. Allergy sufferers in particular are annoyed by the mass occurrence of annoying pollen during spring. Many of those affected are therefore wondering what kills the birch. But such plans are largely nonsensical. Whoever kills a birch risks bad consequences. This is a plea against attempted assassination.

kill birches

The birch is not adapted to very specific environmental influences. Trees die when their location no longer offers optimal conditions. Humans can also use targeted methods that slowly kill the tree.

Wet feet

When winters are too warm, precipitation falls as rain. Rivers and lakes are flooded. Heavy rains after long periods of drought in summer also cause flooding because the water can no longer seep into the heavily compacted soil. Waterlogging occurs, which causes problems for the roots of the Betula. It is becoming increasingly susceptible to pathogens and pests. Weakened trees tolerate extreme environmental influences less well.

drought stress

After weeks of hot periods, the groundwater level drops to a minimum so that the roots of the birch trees can no longer absorb water. They become weak and can no longer grow. Reserve substances are slowly running out because the deciduous trees cannot absorb and store nutrients from the soil due to the lack of water. Drought stress occurs, which causes various phenomena:

  • insect calamities
  • early leaf discoloration
  • leaf fall
  • frost damage
  • Tree death after repeated emergence


In the lower part of the trunk, a strip of bark about ten centimeters wide is removed. If the underlying cambium is removed with the bark, the tree can hardly close these wounds. Consequently, the flow of sap containing the assimilates obtained through photosynthesis is interrupted. These substances flow from the leaves into the roots and ensure their function. However, the transport of water and nutrients to the leaves is maintained, as this takes place in the lower layers. The consequences of this method cause the tree to die in twelve to 36 months:

  • lack of nutrients kills roots
  • Leaves turn color and fall off
  • temporarily increased seed production, causing extra energy to be wasted

Excessive tapping

If a hole is drilled in the trunk, large quantities of birch sap will leak out of the wound within a few hours. Strong and healthy trees will quickly regenerate from the loss provided the hole is sealed tight. If this is not the case, the wound cannot close properly and the birch constantly loses sap. This continuous loss kills the tree. However, if the wood is tapped every year, there will be symptoms of deficiency, which will slowly kill the tree. It lacks important substances for the formation of new flowers, leaves and roots.

notice: This method, like other measures, should not be used specifically to kill a disturbing tree! Such ill-considered actions can result in criminal prosecution.

Reasons against killing birches

The birch is a special tree that has countless benefits for animals and humans. Only a tree ensures in its entire life that specialized species find enough food and places to retreat. Humans can use flowers, leaves, buds and even the bark. Even after dying, the tree is not worthless. The following reasons are a plea against the thoughtless killing of birch trees.

Creates living space

Birch trees are among the most popular trees in the insect world. They serve as a source of food, breeding ground and retreat. After willows and oaks, Betula species are the most heavily populated tree species in Central Europe. Various butterflies fly to birch trees, sunning themselves on the leaves and laying their eggs there. This diversity of insects attracts numerous birds that feed on the insects. The tree itself also provides food for the bird life. Black grouse, hazel grouse, capercaillie and grouse eat buds and catkins of deciduous trees. Some siskins bond with birch trees. Redpoll, redpoll and redpoll like to peck at the kittens.

  • more than 160 species of insects
  • approx. 120 large butterfly species
  • over 30 bird species

Improves location conditions

Birch trees are pioneer trees that grow first on barren sites and fresh fallow land. The deciduous tree makes no special demands on the soil. Betula species even get along well with the blazing sun. They are true all-rounders because they can cope with a wide variety of environmental conditions. Late frosts do not cause any problems for the cold-resistant tree. The birch is a valuable tree for reforestation and forest edge closure. Over the course of a birch tree's almost 120-year lifespan, other tree species can assert themselves in the originally suboptimal location. The reasons are manifold:

  • enriches hummus
  • light crown ensures semi-shady conditions
  • protects hillside soils from erosion and strengthens them

Embellishes landscapes

Native birch species include silver birch (Betula pendula) and downy birch (Betula pubescens). They are one of the tree species that significantly improve the aesthetics of an environment. The black and white color of the bark in combination with the light green leaf sprouting is what makes these unique trees so attractive. Depending on the site conditions, the appearance of these deciduous trees changes. They appear predominantly tree-shaped in Central Europe. The further north they occur, the more shrub-like they grow. Therefore, Betula species are popular trees in landscape design.

Delivers healthy food

To this day, various parts of the birch are used as food. Birch sap provides a refreshing cool down in spring. It can be boiled down into syrup and used to brew beer. Today, sugar is extracted from birch sap. This birch sugar is an alternative to beet sugar and at the same time is less harmful to the teeth because the juice has a caries-inhibiting effect. At the end of winter, the buds can be harvested and added to salads. Below the outer bark sits a reddish layer that can be dried and processed into flour. This flour is suitable for making bread, baked goods or pasta. The birch also helps with various diseases:

  • Birch sap strengthens the immune system with vitamin C and minerals
  • helps against rheumatic complaints
  • Leaf tea works against bacterial inflammation of the urinary tract

Suitable for commodities

In the Nordic countries, birch bark is still considered an important raw material for the production of various everyday objects. The idea of storage containers for tea, flour and bread comes from Siberia. Such containers are conquering the European market because they are environmentally friendly, ecological and valuable at the same time. Bread stays fresh and mold-free for longer because the rind contains betulin. This substance has antiseptic properties. Birch bark is therefore also suitable for preserving food.


When the life of a birch tree comes to an end naturally, life is still not over. Deadwood is one of the components of nature that are becoming increasingly rare. But it is precisely here that a species-rich world is developing, with some highly specialized species. The dead wood continues to provide a valuable habitat for numerous species of animals, plants and fungi. Lichens settle on the bark, some of which can be used as indicators of particularly clean air. Numerous insects such as beetles and bugs find a safe retreat in the rotten wood. Some larvae, such as those of the beneficial fire beetle (Pyrochroidae), depend on the moist microclimate in the wood aisles.

Why you want to kill birch trees

Many people suffer from pollen allergies. Birch pollen is one of the strong allergens that trigger immune system reactions after inhalation. It is not uncommon for those affected to look for a quick solution to the problem that kills the annoying pollen producer in front of the house. The fact is, however, that the pollen count changes from year to year and is not consistently high. Not only the birch trees are to blame for the suffering of many people, but numerous other tree species spread pollen in spring. Even if the birch tree in front of the house has been removed, the allergy can still show up because pollen is airborne and can travel long distances.

Climate change is killing birches

Due to the extreme events that are occurring more and more frequently, the birch already has it hard enough. Suboptimal environmental conditions occur in combination. After too wet winter months comes the summer drought, which is interrupted by torrential rains. Birch trees can no longer cope with these phenomena. Birch trees can be seen more and more often on roadsides and avenues or in parks, whose leaves have already completely dried up and fallen off in summer.

What allergy sufferers can do

There are numerous tips to alleviate the symptoms. These include changing clothes after a walk, airing out during the night, washing your hair and rinsing your nose. The only thing that really helps against an allergy is desensitization. In this case, the affected person is given allergens in increasing doses so that the body can get used to them. Regular drinking of birch sap is said to have helped many allergy sufferers. The symptoms have greatly reduced or at least not worsened. Approach carefully and taste small amounts for the time being in order to determine possible side effects. If the juice feels good to you, you can slowly increase the amount.

tip: If you want to tap birch sap from forest trees yourself, you should ask the forest owner for permission beforehand. Because careless actions will kill the tree, you should proceed with the utmost care.

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