Birch, River Betula nigra
The cinnamon-colored, exfoliating bark of the River Birch is spectacular in the winter. Lustrous, medium-green leaves. Most borer resistant birch. Tolerant of both wet soils and dry summers. Avoid very alkaline soils. Grows to 40' to 70', 40'-60' spread.(zones 4-9)Pricing Information
Click icons for more information.
Show All |
Hardiness Zones 4 - 9The River Birch can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map. View Map
Type of treeOrnamental Trees, Shade Trees
Mature HeightThe River Birch grows to be 40' - 70' feet in height.
Mature SpreadThe River Birch has a spread of about 40' - 60' at full maturity.
SunThis birch does well in full sun, partial shade.
SoilThe River Birch grows in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well drained, wet, wide range, clay soils.
ShapeThis birch has oval, pyramidal, upright or erect shape.
The River Birch has become a popular landscape tree because of its distinctive bark and graceful crown. It also is said to be the Birch most resistant to borers, and can tolerate drier conditions than other Birches. Its small but plentiful seeds are appreciated by a wide range of songbirds.
The cinnamon-colored, exfoliating bark of the River Birch is spectacular in the winter. Lustrous, medium-green leaves. Most borer resistant birch. Tolerant of both wet soils and dry summers. Avoid very alkaline soils. Prune only when dormant and not when sap is flowing. Grows to 40' to 70', 40'-60' spread. (zones 4-9)
The catkins of the River Birch are used by redpolls and pine siskins. The foliage is eaten by deer and other browsers.
The River Birch is one of the 12 Birch species that extend southward from the Arctic Circle. It is the only one that grows naturally at low elevations in the southeastern part of the United States. Mud is a natural bed for the seedlings and the tree is excellent for holding stream banks and thus helping to keep erosion in check.
While it will tolerate moderate flooding, it also has some drought resistance.
This trees leaves are 1-1/2 to 3 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide with tiny hairs on stem and the underside of a stout midrib.
Flowers are brown or green.
The flowers bloom in April to May.
The fruit is elongated, 1 to 3 inches long.
Rate of growth refers to the vertical increase in growth unless specified differently. Rate, as is true for size, is influenced by numerous variables such as soil, drainage, water, fertility, light, exposure, ad infinitum. The designation slow means the plant grows 12” or less per year; medium refers to 13 to 24” of growth per year; and fast to 25” or greater.Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, by Michael Dirr.