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The Versatile Birch

 
Posts: 116
Location: Southcentral Alaska
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About mid April every year we load up our sap buckets and head out to find a few birch trees to tap. We don’t make syrup, none of us really like it, but we do drink gallons of the sap while it is running. Birch sap has been used as a spring tonic in many cultures for eons. We drink it plane; make hot chocolate with it, coffee, you name it. Birch sap straight from the tree doesn’t have a strong flavor just sweet and slightly nutty.
While we were out tapping trees the other day I was thinking all the uses we get from birch trees.
A large part of our firewood is birch, when cured it make a hot fire and will hold coals through a winter night. The bark makes an excellent fire starter it can even be light when it is wet.
My wife uses the durable birch bark to make several different styles of baskets.
Goats thrive on birch browse during the winter. When I bring in our firewood I haul all the small branches for them to munch on they love them. The browse must be pretty high in protein; our goats were always fat and healthy when they got a lot of birch to browse.
Although I’ve never done it birch slash is distilled down to birch oil a volatile oil used as a substitute for wintergreen oil.
I mill some birch for lumber for some building projects it make nice cabinets and furniture. Although it does takes a long time to dry and shrinks a considerably.
 
Posts: 418
Location: Eugene, OR
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Sounds great. How easily can they be grown from seed?
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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there are a few birch growing naturally in our woods, however, there has been some decline because of the borers...they go into the tip of the trees and kill thetree..but generally a new clump of babies will grow around the dying one
 
              
Posts: 133
Location: West Iowa
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doubt they would do good in LA though!
 
Kirk Hutchison
Posts: 418
Location: Eugene, OR
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LoonyK wrote:
doubt they would do good in LA though!



I expect so However, I plan to move one day, so I am just thinking ahead.
 
Posts: 102
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Kirk Hutchison wrote:
Sounds great. How easily can they be grown from seed?



Don't bother trying them from seed, just take cuttings and stick em in the mud.
 
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