The bark exfoliates on younger trees and opens to a lighter, salmon-colored trunk. Produces brown and green catkins in April and May. Betula nigra, the black birch, river birch or water birch, is a species of birch native to the Eastern United States from New Hampshire west to southern Minnesota, and south to northern Florida and west to Texas. Hardiness zone 4. Heritage® — glossy green foliage, oval growth habit, 50 feet tall and 35 feet wide at maturity Betula nigra (River Birch) is a bushy deciduous tree prized for its incredible peeling bark. River birch is a medium to tall tree, growing 60-80 feet at maturity and about 40 wide. River birch wood was once used for ox yokes, wooden shoes and other products around the farm. Photo by Karen Russ, ©2006 HGIC, Clemson Extension. Birch trees are relatively free of pests and diseases. The catkins of the River Birch are used by redpolls and pine siskins. Heritage Birch can grow very quickly. Scientific Name: Betula nigra. Young trees have salmon- to rust-colored bark that matures to a silvery gray. It tolerates fairly dry soils once it is established, but does grow best in moist fertile soils. They tend to grow between 40 and 70 feet (12-21 m.) in height. This shade tree has highly symmetrical branching and … The leaves are alternate, double serrated, wedge-shaped, and sharply pointed. This species requires full sun to partial shade and tolerates high temperatures. Buy your River Birch Tree Today! In 2002, one of its cultivars was even named the Urban Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists. Birch trees, in the wild, grow best in cool, moist soils and have shallow root systems. It is a dense, compact tree with glossy green leaves and exfoliating bark. Birch trees have a special charm and beauty and the River Birch is a medium-sized tree that usually grows to around 40 feet or more in height. These lovely trees can get 40 to 70 feet tall with a spread of 40 to 60 feet at maturity, so keep that in mind when selecting a planting site. The Arbor Day Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization. Birch can thrive in a wide range of soil types, really only objecting to extremely wet or dry conditions, says Paul Bartlett of Stone Lane Gardens, … It is one of the few heat-tolerant birches in a family of mostly cold-weather trees which do not thrive in USDA Zone 6 and up. The bark of a mature birch is ridged and deepens to dark brown. ‘Summer Cascade’ (PP15,105) – This is a newer weeping form of river birch from NC, and has a unique pendulous growing habit. Although it tends to be a medium-sized tree, one tree in Alabama has grown to 111 feet tall, with a diameter of more than 4 feet. Fall webworms may produce webbing on the ends of limbs from June through the end of summer, and feed on foliage within the webbing. A full sun or part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in average, wet soils. Dwarf varieties may grow a bit slower, taking 10 years or so to reach 10 feet. About River Birch Tree... River Birch trees grow quickly to a maximum height of 40 to 60 feet tall. Birches grow best in full sun to partial shade sites. The species grows as far south as USDA Zone 9. It may grow to 6 to 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide in 10 years. It is a hybrid of. It grows best in plant hardiness USDA hardiness zones 4-9. This tree is available in single, twin or clump (multiple trunks) form. City Slicker® (‘Whit XXV’ PP16573) – The exfoliating bark reveals creamy white inner bark. Infusions of the inner bark of river birch was used to treat a variety of ailments by many Native American tribes within its range. River Birch Care. Plants benefit with a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch and supplemental water in dry periods. Debbie Shaughnessy, Former HGIC Information Specialist, Clemson UniversityBob Polomski, PhD, Extension Consumer Horticulturist, Clemson University, Joey Williamson, PhD, HGIC Horticulture Extension Agent, Clemson University. Copyright © 2021 Clemson UniversityClemson Cooperative Extension | 103 Barre Hall Clemson, SC 29634864-986-4310 | Contact UsHGIC@clemson.edu, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, Centipedegrass Yearly Maintenance Program, Heritage® (‘Cully’ PP4409) – This is the most prominent of all the cultivars. Distribution: Eastern United States. This leaking of sap in the spring from recent wounds is not considered harmful, but may lead to concern that there is another problem. Mature river birch (Betula nigra) in a partially shady landscape.Photo by Karen Russ, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension. B. nigra commonly occurs in floodplains and swamps. These roots will probably not crack or break concrete, but can easily find tiny cracks and hasten the process. Buy this tree! It grows to 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide. These trees are great candidates for up-lighting. These trees are great candidates for up-lighting. It's world famous for its silky, smooth, light-tan bark that peels and exfoliates to reveal tantalizing glimpses of beautiful salmon-pink and cinnamon brown-colored patches beneath. The average tree spread may be as much as 40 to 60 feet. For starters, it's resistant to common diseases, grows up to 2 to 3 feet each year, and adapts to a variety of soil types. Keep this in mind when growing and caring for your container birch tree and it will thrive. Unlike other kinds of birch tree, the fruits of the River Birch mature in the spring following flowering. The River Birch (Betula nigra) is the most planted Birch in the United States and the best one for hot climates. ‘Shiloh Splash’ (PP16362) – This is a variegated leaf cultivar of river birch with green foliage edged in creamy white. River birch (Betula nigra) trunk with exfoliating bark. The small but plentiful seeds are appreciated by a wide range of songbirds. It tends to be short-lived (30 to 40 years) on many urban sites, possibly due to a shortage of water in restricted areas. As its name suggests, the river birch naturally grows along riverbanks. Trees typically live 50 -75 years. May be more cold and heat tolerant than other cultivars. The river birch can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–9. If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988. For one, think river birch gets BIG -- up to 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide. River birch (Betula nigra) is a handsome tree that is native to the southeastern United States. Average Size at Maturity: Quickly reaches 40 to 60 ft. tall and wide; 70 ft. tall in ideal conditions. Once the root system establishes, this giant will become an excellent shade tree. The River Birch tree is a native birch and it tolerates a wide range of soil moisture conditions but prefers a more acidic soil. The graceful elegance of the birch allows it to be used as a specimen or for naturalizing, and is best used in large areas. Photo by Karen Russ, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension. River birch is drought sensitive and does not like hot, dry summers. Yields a large number of tiny nutlets after female catkins mature, typically in May and June. Common Name(s): River Birch. It is considered the most widely adapted of all the birches, and hardy throughout South Carolina. (Thuricide) or spinosad are the safer products to use for webworm control. It is a tree that has something to offer for every season.. It's easy to understand why the Heritage ® River Birch is such a popular tree. Salmon-pink, smooth and shiny at first, the bark flakes and curls in cinnamon-brown to blackish sheets. Bloom Time: Inconspicuous; prized for foliage and bark. Design Ideas This cultivar from Oklahoma grows to 30 to 40 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide. It is considered more heat and drought tolerant than the species. Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed. It will grow 2 feet a year, and even 3 feet a year in warmer areas, so it rapidly matures into an attractive specimen that will grow from zone 4 through zone 9. Adaptable and heat tolerant, this river birch will grow in a wide range of situations, including semi-aquatic conditions, but performs best in moist, slightly acidic soils. River Birch trees are native to South Eastern United State and as the name represents they are mainly found along the rivers and streams sides having inadequately drained soil. The bark of younger trees is pinkish to reddish brown. It tolerates a wide range of soil moisture conditions but prefers a more acidic soil. River birch (Betula nigra) is a medium-sized tree associated with moist, rich soils along streams, rivers and swampy locations.It is the most common birch native to Iowa. The river birch grows to a height of 40–70' and a spread of 40–60' at maturity. Average Size at Maturity Moderate growing; reaches 8 to 10 ft. tall and wide in 10 years. Cultivated varieties of river birch have been selected for shorter heights, different shapes, improved bark color, and larger or variegated foliage. The river birch is a large deciduous tree, typically growing to 40 to 70 feet tall, but may grow as high as 90 feet. Apply mulch to conserve soil moisture. Introduction To River Birch Tree. Heritage Birch tree (Betula nigra 'Cully') grows very fast to provide airy, breezy shade for you and your family. And in Grumpy's opinion, the bigger a river birch gets, the less attractive it … The River Birch is deciduous and often grows into a multi-trunked tree. In the fall, the foliage turns pale yellow. View Map. Mature size is around 40' tall x 30' wide. River birch was first cultivated in 1736. Birch trees are renowned for their beautiful bark, and Heritage® River Birch is no exception. River birch is a deciduous medium to large-sized native tree. River birches are not particularly long-lived trees, however. Join our mailing list to receive the latest updates from HGIC. ‘Little King’ river birch (Betula nigra). The exfoliating bark reveals inner bark that is creamy white. The exposed inner bark is gray-brown to cinnamon-brown to reddish brown. A multi-trunk specimen is more handsome than single-trunk trees. Prompt sprays of B.t. It will tolerate moderate flooding as well as some drought. Janka Hardness: 970 lb f (4,320 N)* *Estimated hardness based on specific gravity However, they typically occur late in the season and most are not significantly detrimental. The trunk of this tree often is short, branching into several large limbs that grow upward. Because birch are shallow-rooted, they prefer a location where the soil remains cool and moist while exposing the canopy to ample sunlight (about 6 hours daily). River birch may be troubled by various fungal leaf spot diseases, resulting in early leaf drop during rainy summers. Lore Betula nigra 'Little King' reportedly does not produce catkins (flowers) as most birch trees do. COVID-19 Extension Updates and Resources ... More Information », Factsheet | HGIC 1005 | Updated: Sep 19, 2015 | Print. A micro-climate of afternoon shade may be beneficial. Betula nigra, commonly called river birch, is a vigorous, fast-growing, medium-sized, Missouri native deciduous tree which occurs on floodplains, swampy bottomlands and along streams throughout the State.In cultivation, it can be trained as either a single trunk or multi-trunked tree. The river birch has not yet reached the popularity of many maples and oaks, but it is well on its way. But as a landscape tree, it can be planted almost anywhere in the U.S. The river birch is a large deciduous tree, typically growing to 40 to 70 feet tall, but may grow as high as 90 feet. Prune river birch trees at the end of spring for dead, diseased or crossed branches. Because this cultivar has much less heat tolerance, it should only be considered for use in the higher elevations of the upper counties of SC. This fast and easy to grow River Birch Tree reaches a height of 40-50 feet with a width of 25-40 feet at its maturity. Birches situated in moist areas are longer-lived. Dura-Heat® (‘BNMTF’ PPAF) – This is a smaller cultivar that grows to 30 to 40 feet tall. This plant is a cultivar of a species that is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. Dwarf weeping birch (Betula pendula Trost's Dwarf) is a variety you may want to consider. This is too big for the average yard, especially when you consider how close to the house lots of people mistakenly plant it. Though they do best in moist conditions, they tolerate drier soil better than other birch trees do. River Birch Tree - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University. Planting this fast-growing tree at one or more corners of your home is a classic way to frame your house and soften its edge s. Landscape lighting adds extra drama at night. One of the most appealing features of the birch is the bark, which on larger, young branches and stems, is reddish to pinkish brown and peels off in papery strips. Works well for holding stream banks and keeping erosion in check. This tree grows at a medium to fast rate, with height increases of anywhere from 13" to more than 24" per year. Margins are double-toothed and leaves are arranged alternately. Growth rate is medium. This tree is handsome without leaves because of its graceful silhouette and exfoliating bark. River birch have shallow root systems and surface roots are common. Young trees can add 3 or 4 feet in a single season! It requires acidic soils, and may suffer from iron deficiency if pH levels are 6.5 or higher. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. It is faster-growing, has larger, glossier leaves and is less prone to leaf spot than the species. But they were rather distained by loggers as knotty and spindly, therefore often left to grow along the river bank to control erosion. River birch is a fast-growing, deciduous semi-aquatic tree that reaches between 50 and 90 feet in height. This is a fast-growing tree that averages about 36 inches of growth per year. The foliage is eaten by deer and other browsers. This tree has a rounded canopy and grows to a maximum height of 70 feet and width of 60 feet. River birch (Betula nigra) foliage. The River Birch is a very popular tree in most states due to its adaptable nature allowing it to grow in most growing zones. Note: Chemical control of diseases and insects on large trees is usually not feasible since adequate coverage of the foliage with a pesticide cannot be achieved. Plant a river birch tree in spring or fall when the soil is moist and the temperatures are cool. A million members, donors, and partners support our programs to make our world greener and healthier. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Heritage is a cultivar of a native River Birch tree with exquisite, peeling, exfoliating bark that is … All year long, its shaggy, peaches-and-cream-colored bark will be a standout in your landscape. Betula nigra, the river birch, is a very common shade tree in the Midwest. It is a deciduous and fast-growing tree or shrub. These trees prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Develops a cinnamon-colored bark that curls and peels (once mature). River birch can be used as a screen or shade tree, and as a street tree with irrigation. Plus, it's an elegant source of shade, … Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day. Mature size is around 40' tall x 30' wide. It causes no lasting damage. This native birch grows at a medium to rapid rate (30 to 40 feet over a 20-year period). Birches are considered “bleeders”, avoid pruning in late spring before leaves emerge. Why Heritage® River Birch Trees? Grows 40 to 70 high by 40 to 60 feet wide. River birch trees grow rather quickly, at a rate of about 1.5 feet per year. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. The exfoliating bark reveals white inner bark. Photo by Karen Russ, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension. It transplants easily and is most effective when planted in groupings. The species is valued for its relatively rapid growth, tolerance of wetness and some drought, unique curling bark, spreading limbs, and relative resistance to birch borer. The river birch grows to a height of 40–70' and a spread of 40–60' at maturity. River birches may grow up to 90 feet tall, but the average height is 40 to 70 feet, and 25 to 60 feet wide. Hardiness: Zones 3 through 9 Growth Rate: Moderate to Rapid The river birch grows well in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils. Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter. It should not be planted in high-use areas such as driveways, walks and patios, as dead branches tend to be messy. One aphid causes the leaves to crinkle in the spring. Habitat: Found in bottomland areas and along streams in eastern Iowa. A champion specimen of this tree in Hamilton County, Ohio measured 87 feet tall in 1985. Although the river birch thrives in wet areas, it does not require excessive amounts of water. Fox Valley® (‘Little King’) – This cultivar is a dwarf that may reach 8 to 10 feet tall and 9 to 12 feet wide in 10 years with good growing conditions. Periodic pruning is required to remove these branches; this can be done at any time of year. The flowers are unisexual, borne in separate male and female catkins on the same tree. Growing River Birch Trees in the Landscape The ideal spot is the north or east side of a building, where the tree will receive full sun in the morning and some shade during the afternoon. River birch is not susceptible to invasion by the bronze birch borer, a common problem with other birches in the south. Separate male and female flowers are borne on the same tree; the male in the form of a catkin, and the female in cone-like clusters that fall from the tree and are blown for long distances by the wind. x ‘Royal Frost’ – This birch has burgundy-red to purple foliage, followed by yellow-orange to red fall color. Various leaf miners and aphids may infest it, but these problems are unimportant. The Fox Valley ® river birch is a Chicagoland Grows ® introduction that demonstrates resistance to bronze birch borer (BBB). The Betula Nigra River Birch has a stunning yellow-golden color in the fall, and produces flowers in the spring and winter, and smaller, darker flowers in the summer. Average Dried Weight: 37 lbs/ft 3 (590 kg/m 3) Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC):.49, .59. Noteworthy Characteristics. They are a riparian tree species, and are primarily found in natural sites along the banks of stream and lakes, including areas that are prone to flooding. The average tree spread may be as much as 40 to 60 feet. River birch should not be planted close to the house as a foundation plant because of root growth toward the foundation and the drop of leaves into gutters. Features glossy green leaves that are 2–3" long and somewhat triangular. If control is necessary, always spray in the early evening. The lower branches droop on older trees. The trunk typically grows about 2 feet in diameter but occasionally will be much wider. This is especially so since the introduction in 1979 and gradual recognition of the Heritage River birch cultivar (Betula nigra ‘Cully’), which culminated in it winning the 2002 Urban Tree of the Year award as determined by responses to an annual survey in arborist magazine City Trees. This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement of brand names or registered trademarks by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied, nor is any discrimination intended by the exclusion of products or manufacturers not named. However, pruning healthy branches should be done in the summer to provide adequate time for cuts to heal, because late season pruning will result in spring “bleeding”. Should not be planted in very alkaline soil. River Birch is a semi-aquatic plant and is a landscape tree due to its rich colours and appealing drooping branches. Can grow as either a single- or multi-stemmed tree. 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