I have had a White spire birch tree in my yard a year now. It seems to be a very slow grower. The stakes that were placed on it by the nursery, which they said I could remove around summer because the trunks would probably expand the first year, are still in place because they have not expanded enough to remove them. I was told I could then replace them for the following winter to help support the narrow trunks during our winter storms. Since I did not find it necessary to remove them because of growth, they are still in place. Does this sound right or is my tree not thriving? It seems very thin as well, I'm not sure if I am unfairly comparing it to the other birch trees (not white spires)in my neighborhood, which have thick heavy canopies. I purchased it because I liked the tiny flickering effect of the leaves and the dappled sunlight from it's tall narrow canopy, but I am wondering how full it should be? I have not pruned it because I'm not sure where to prune. The unusual lower drooping branches make it look as if it needs the lower branches trimmed but that is it's natural growing habit, so when and where do I prune? There is always plenty of info about birches in general but the info on white spires in particular is not as generous. Anyone have experience or good advice? I have checked the leaves and the bark and besides a few problems this summer with Japanese beetles, it looks fine.