Birch Bark


Tree identification time! This is a paper white birch. They are very pretty trees. Ice storms are their nemesis. We have a fair number of these up on the north east slope of Sugar Mountain and the bad ice storm of the winter of 1998 did a fair bit of damage up there among their ranks. When Will and I hiked up Sugar Mountain through the sugar bush last fall we saw a very traumatically and massive freshly broken birch. The high winds and heavy snow had done it in.

I love seeing birch in the woods because they add a contrasting color. The twigs also smell distinctive and quite pleasant. Young apples, cherry and birch can look somewhat a like to the eye but the differences in their smell always let me know which is which. What ever you do, don’t peel the bark from a live birch tree. It may be tempting but it can damage and even kill the tree.

Birch wood makes wonderful cabinetry. I built my desk of birch and cherry. The kitchen cabinets in our house are all of birch as well as the window and door frames in the kitchen. They were done by Lloyd, the previous owner, before our time. He told me that most of the birch came from the land, what was his and is now ours. He had a sawmill that had been started by his father up on the heights along Route 302 before it dips down to Riddle Pond on our side to the east and the town of Orange to the west.

If you are interested in tree identification you might want to explore the Oplin and Natural Moment web sites.

21째F/8째F, 4″ Snow, Partly Sunny

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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5 Responses to Birch Bark

  1. pablo says:

    Tree bark. What an excellent idea for a post!

  2. Emily says:

    Birch trees! My favorite! They are so elegant and graceful whether winter bare or fully clothed in the warmer months. Did you know that they can be tapped like maples and have medicinal properties? We have one lone birch on our property and would love to put a small grove in. More research! :)

  3. Jacobs Farm says:

    Hey Walter, We have River Birch trees here and all up and down our creek. Great idea on tree identification…..we’ve been planning a “tree study” – thank you for the resource references. I have always been amazed at my father – he can 50 yards away from any kind of tree and sound like Mutual of Omaha’s – “what’s his name”… “Well, that’s a thus ‘n so tree and was once indigenous to….” How come I didn’t get that gene?

    Our birch trees have the peeling bark and are just gorgeous providing a cool canopy over the creek in the summer.

    Blessings to y’all,
    The Jacobs
    Jacobs Farm

  4. dragonfly183 says:

    I am very jealous of the birch trees. I love them but you don’t see them here. The closest i have found is a sycamore tree.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sure you may peel birch bark, but it has to be done in the spring time when the tree bark is full of sweet sap. When the time is right, the outter bark will seperate from the inner bark. One can harvest the outter bark without hurting the tree. However the bark harvest in the winter, the winter bark, is of much better quality. Harvesting winter bark will likely kill the tree.

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