Paper Birch - Tree Plantations, Wood Pellets, Birch Syrup and Biomass

Paper Birch tree plantations are grown for wood pellets, birch paper, syrup, biomass, canoe birch, class two veneer, plywood, firewood and lioleum underlay. Paper Birch is known as the Canadian tree because of its natural range across the entire country. Paper Birch can be found growing in every province and territory. Paper Birch also grows in some northern parts of the United States as well. Paper Birch is also called “Canoe Birch” because Indigenous peoples made canoes from birch bark centuries ago. These birch bark canoes where so reliable, the first explorers and fir traders used them as the primary mode of waterway transportation. Paper Birch can reach heights of between 60 and 120 feet and 2 feet across. The bark is naturally peeling and can be stripped from the tree in large sheets. Birch bark is a light brown color when the tree is young, gradually turning white after about 5 or 6 years.

birch tree
canoe bark birch wood

Paper Birch Wood

Paper Birch wood has many uses including everything from tongue depressors to toothpicks, but its primary use is for firewood because of its high BTU value. This high BTU value makes Paper Birch a valuable tree for wood pellet tree plantations. Paper Birch is commonly used for the manufacture of Class 2 veneer to make plywood, particularly for linoleum underlay.

Paper Birch Distribution

Whether you are using Paper Birch as an ornamental tree or a wood pellet tree plantation, it is important to know where it grows best. The Paper Birch distribution map shown below will help determine if your area is suitable for growing birch.

Paper Birch North America Growing Zones

Birch Syrup

When it comes to syrup from trees, most of us are familiar with the famous Maple Syrup made from tapping Maple trees in early spring as soon as the sap starts to run. If I told you that you could make Birch Syrup, you would probably think I was some kind of drip; but it’s true. The making of Birch Syrup is a fairly new industry that began in Alaska of all places as an alternative to Maple Syrup, which is expensive to import, and can’t be made locally because maple trees won't grow that far north.

Paper Birch growing in the mixed boreal forests of Alaska and Northern Canada are ideal for syrup production and at present literally "un-tapped" resource.

Supplemental Income

Paper Birch tree plantation owners can create a supplemental income from tapping their birch trees to collect Birch Syrup for sale in their area. There are less than 2,000 gallons of Birch Syrup on the market each year compared to 8 million gallons of maple syrup, so the market has room to grow. As a rule it takes approximately 90 to 100 gallons of birch sap to make I gallon of Birch Syrup.

Birch syrup is distinctive in flavor and versatile. It has a rich, spicy-sweet flavor that reminds people of the great outdoors.

Fast Growing Paper Birch Trees

Plant fast growing Paper Birch tree seedlings and harvest trees for the manufacture of wood pellets for wood burning electrical power utilities much sooner. Our 20-foot Paper Birch seedlings are delivered branch free to your site ready for transplanting. Using a standard posthole auger, you can plant approximately 400 trees per acre in just one day. In a month you can create an instant 30 acre 20-foot tall forest where there was none before. We suggest creating a more natural forest by planting a coniferous tree such as White Pine with your birch. A mixed forest will help ward off pests and offer some protection from the elements, particularly in the winter.

Creating a forest of tall, knot free clear grained Paper Birch tree seedlings is advantageous for timber investors:

Paper Birch has a high BTU rating as wood pellets

Paper Birch has similar growth rates to softwoods

Paper Birch improves land holdings and creates monetary value

A Paper Birch timber asset can be sold or leveraged and used as collateral

Tall Paper Birch tree seedlings shorten time to harvest

Birch Plantation

Birch Plantations

As wood pellet use and biomass become popular, paper birch is becoming more of a commercial utility tree than the traditional landscape tree.

Plantation Costs

Paper Birch plantation costs average between $500 and $1,000 per acre depending on how many acres are planted per project – the more acres planted the lower the cost. An average of 800 trees per acre is common. A thinning program should be initiated during year 10 cutting every second tree leaving the remaining trees to size up. On average, the thinned trees will increase two times diameter compared to a plantation without thinning. Because Paper Birch is an under story tree, a semi-shade location is essential for maximum growth and yield.

Calculate the number of trees per acre and spacing between Paper Birch trees

Note* It is important to transplant seedlings that are at least 3 years old and 6 feet tall so they will survive the first and second winters. It is also advisable to use tree shelters or security fencing to protect young birch tree seedlings from grazing deer. Starting a Paper Birch plantation with tall tree 15-foot seedlings will eliminate the need for shelters and fencing.

Note* Co-mingling other tree species will improve the health of the plantation. Tree species such as white pine and/or yellow birch would be suitable candidates.

Invest In A Paper Birch Tree Plantation

Paper Birch converted into wood pellets may earn between $5,000 and 10,000 per acre.