The River Birch is a very popular tree in most states due to its adaptable nature allowing it to grow in most growing zones. Mature size is around 40' tall x 30' wide. Birch trees are renowned for their beautiful bark, and Heritage® River Birch is no exception. The bark exfoliates on younger trees and opens to a lighter, salmon-colored trunk. ‘Summer Cascade’ (PP15,105) – This is a newer weeping form of river birch from NC, and has a unique pendulous growing habit. 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 a fast-growing, deciduous semi-aquatic tree that reaches between 50 and 90 feet in height. View Map. Mature size is around 40' tall x 30' wide. 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. Debbie Shaughnessy, Former HGIC Information Specialist, Clemson UniversityBob Polomski, PhD, Extension Consumer Horticulturist, Clemson University, Joey Williamson, PhD, HGIC Horticulture Extension Agent, Clemson University. Yields a large number of tiny nutlets after female catkins mature, typically in May and June. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed. Noteworthy Characteristics. Heritage Birch tree (Betula nigra 'Cully') grows very fast to provide airy, breezy shade for you and your family. However, they typically occur late in the season and most are not significantly detrimental. Hardiness zone 4. The Arbor Day Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization. If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988. ‘Shiloh Splash’ (PP16362) – This is a variegated leaf cultivar of river birch with green foliage edged in creamy white. Betula nigra, the river birch, is a very common shade tree in the Midwest. River birch is a deciduous medium to large-sized native tree. Mature river birch (Betula nigra) in a partially shady landscape.Photo by Karen Russ, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension. This shade tree has highly symmetrical branching and … These trees are great candidates for up-lighting. Scientific Name: Betula nigra. Bloom Time: Inconspicuous; prized for foliage and bark. River birch is drought sensitive and does not like hot, dry summers. Introduction To River Birch Tree. In 2002, one of its cultivars was even named the Urban Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists. 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. Prompt sprays of B.t. Average Dried Weight: 37 lbs/ft 3 (590 kg/m 3) Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC):.49, .59. This is too big for the average yard, especially when you consider how close to the house lots of people mistakenly plant it. Growth rate is medium. Plants benefit with a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch and supplemental water in dry periods. And in Grumpy's opinion, the bigger a river birch gets, the less attractive it … It tolerates a wide range of soil moisture conditions but prefers a more acidic soil. All year long, its shaggy, peaches-and-cream-colored bark will be a standout in your landscape. Heritage Birch can grow very quickly. It tolerates fairly dry soils once it is established, but does grow best in moist fertile soils. 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. 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, … The bark of a mature birch is ridged and deepens to dark brown. For one, think river birch gets BIG -- up to 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide. Apply mulch to conserve soil moisture. Dwarf weeping birch (Betula pendula Trost's Dwarf) is a variety you may want to consider. Growing River Birch Trees in the Landscape They tend to grow between 40 and 70 feet (12-21 m.) in height. River birch trees grow rather quickly, at a rate of about 1.5 feet per year. This cultivar from Oklahoma grows to 30 to 40 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide. A full sun or part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in average, wet soils. The flowers are unisexual, borne in separate male and female catkins on the same tree. Salmon-pink, smooth and shiny at first, the bark flakes and curls in cinnamon-brown to blackish sheets. Once the root system establishes, this giant will become an excellent shade tree. Design Ideas Photo by Karen Russ, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension. The catkins of the River Birch are used by redpolls and pine siskins. Works well for holding stream banks and keeping erosion in check. Grows 40 to 70 high by 40 to 60 feet wide. It tends to be short-lived (30 to 40 years) on many urban sites, possibly due to a shortage of water in restricted areas. But they were rather distained by loggers as knotty and spindly, therefore often left to grow along the river bank to control erosion. The River Birch is deciduous and often grows into a multi-trunked tree. Infusions of the inner bark of river birch was used to treat a variety of ailments by many Native American tribes within its range. Develops a cinnamon-colored bark that curls and peels (once mature). Join our mailing list to receive the latest updates from HGIC. The leaves are alternate, double serrated, wedge-shaped, and sharply pointed. Average Size at Maturity Moderate growing; reaches 8 to 10 ft. tall and wide in 10 years. If control is necessary, always spray in the early evening. River birch can be used as a screen or shade tree, and as a street tree with irrigation. It is a hybrid of. The lower branches droop on older trees. One aphid causes the leaves to crinkle in the spring. A million members, donors, and partners support our programs to make our world greener and healthier. In the fall, the foliage turns pale yellow. 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. Plus, it's an elegant source of shade, … All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. 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. The river birch can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–9. This tree is handsome without leaves because of its graceful silhouette and exfoliating bark. It is faster-growing, has larger, glossier leaves and is less prone to leaf spot than the species. It requires acidic soils, and may suffer from iron deficiency if pH levels are 6.5 or higher. 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. Why Heritage® River Birch Trees? The river birch has not yet reached the popularity of many maples and oaks, but it is well on its way. Prune river birch trees at the end of spring for dead, diseased or crossed branches. It will tolerate moderate flooding as well as some drought. A micro-climate of afternoon shade may be beneficial. Keep this in mind when growing and caring for your container birch tree and it will thrive. The average tree spread may be as much as 40 to 60 feet. The average tree spread may be as much as 40 to 60 feet. Buy your River Birch Tree Today! This tree has a rounded canopy and grows to a maximum height of 70 feet and width of 60 feet. It is considered more heat and drought tolerant than the species. River birch (Betula nigra) foliage. Hardiness: Zones 3 through 9 Growth Rate: Moderate to Rapid The river birch grows to a height of 40–70' and a spread of 40–60' at maturity. Distribution: Eastern United States. It is a dense, compact tree with glossy green leaves and exfoliating bark. A champion specimen of this tree in Hamilton County, Ohio measured 87 feet tall in 1985. River birch was first cultivated in 1736. Buy this tree! River birch may be troubled by various fungal leaf spot diseases, resulting in early leaf drop during rainy summers. 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. 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). 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. It transplants easily and is most effective when planted in groupings. 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. This native birch grows at a medium to rapid rate (30 to 40 feet over a 20-year period). It is a deciduous and fast-growing tree or shrub. It grows best in plant hardiness USDA hardiness zones 4-9. River birches may grow up to 90 feet tall, but the average height is 40 to 70 feet, and 25 to 60 feet wide. Unlike other kinds of birch tree, the fruits of the River Birch mature in the spring following flowering. This is a fast-growing tree that averages about 36 inches of growth per year. Dwarf varieties may grow a bit slower, taking 10 years or so to reach 10 feet. Birches situated in moist areas are longer-lived. COVID-19 Extension Updates and Resources ... More Information », Factsheet | HGIC 1005 | Updated: Sep 19, 2015 | Print. The river birch is a large deciduous tree, typically growing to 40 to 70 feet tall, but may grow as high as 90 feet. 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. Young trees have salmon- to rust-colored bark that matures to a silvery gray. The river birch is a large deciduous tree, typically growing to 40 to 70 feet tall, but may grow as high as 90 feet. The river birch grows well in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils. This tree is available in single, twin or clump (multiple trunks) form. River birch is not susceptible to invasion by the bronze birch borer, a common problem with other birches in the south. The foliage is eaten by deer and other browsers. Grows up to 8-10 ft. tall and wide (240-300 cm) in 10 years. 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. B. nigra commonly occurs in floodplains and swamps. River birches are not particularly long-lived trees, however. Various leaf miners and aphids may infest it, but these problems are unimportant. Habitat: Found in bottomland areas and along streams in eastern Iowa. Though they do best in moist conditions, they tolerate drier soil better than other birch trees do. The bark of younger trees is pinkish to reddish brown. Plant a river birch tree in spring or fall when the soil is moist and the temperatures are cool. The river birch grows to a height of 40–70' and a spread of 40–60' at maturity. City Slicker® (‘Whit XXV’ PP16573) – The exfoliating bark reveals creamy white inner bark. (Thuricide) or spinosad are the safer products to use for webworm control. 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. Dura-Heat® (‘BNMTF’ PPAF) – This is a smaller cultivar that grows to 30 to 40 feet tall. River Birch is a semi-aquatic plant and is a landscape tree due to its rich colours and appealing drooping branches. This tree grows at a medium to fast rate, with height increases of anywhere from 13" to more than 24" per year. Birches are considered “bleeders”, avoid pruning in late spring before leaves emerge. Janka Hardness: 970 lb f (4,320 N)* *Estimated hardness based on specific gravity About River Birch Tree... River Birch trees grow quickly to a maximum height of 40 to 60 feet tall. Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter. Should not be planted in very alkaline soil. 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. 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. Birch trees, in the wild, grow best in cool, moist soils and have shallow root systems. The exfoliating bark reveals white inner bark. River birch (Betula nigra) trunk with 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. 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. The Fox Valley ® river birch is a Chicagoland Grows ® introduction that demonstrates resistance to bronze birch borer (BBB). The exfoliating bark reveals inner bark that is creamy white. This leaking of sap in the spring from recent wounds is not considered harmful, but may lead to concern that there is another problem. Can grow as either a single- or multi-stemmed tree. Trees typically live 50 -75 years. Heritage is a cultivar of a native River Birch tree with exquisite, peeling, exfoliating bark that is … 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. Heritage® — glossy green foliage, oval growth habit, 50 feet tall and 35 feet wide at maturity It causes no lasting damage. The species grows as far south as USDA Zone 9. It is a tree that has something to offer for every season.. Margins are double-toothed and leaves are arranged alternately. The River Birch (Betula nigra) is the most planted Birch in the United States and the best one for hot climates. 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. Common Name(s): River Birch. 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. ‘Little King’ river birch (Betula nigra). Photo by Karen Russ, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension. Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day. Produces brown and green catkins in April and May. Lore Betula nigra 'Little King' reportedly does not produce catkins (flowers) as most birch trees do. River Birch Care. 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. Although the river birch thrives in wet areas, it does not require excessive amounts of water. 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. It is considered the most widely adapted of all the birches, and hardy throughout South Carolina. Periodic pruning is required to remove these branches; this can be done at any time of year. River Birch Tree - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University. x ‘Royal Frost’ – This birch has burgundy-red to purple foliage, followed by yellow-orange to red fall color. 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”. 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. The small but plentiful seeds are appreciated by a wide range of songbirds. As its name suggests, the river birch naturally grows along riverbanks. It's easy to understand why the Heritage ® River Birch is such a popular tree. Photo by Karen Russ, ©2006 HGIC, Clemson Extension. 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. Cultivated varieties of river birch have been selected for shorter heights, different shapes, improved bark color, and larger or variegated foliage. Betula nigra (River Birch) is a bushy deciduous tree prized for its incredible peeling bark. The trunk of this tree often is short, branching into several large limbs that grow upward. Birch trees are relatively free of pests and diseases. River birch (Betula nigra) is a handsome tree that is native to the southeastern United States. These roots will probably not crack or break concrete, but can easily find tiny cracks and hasten the process. It may grow to 6 to 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide in 10 years. Fall webworms may produce webbing on the ends of limbs from June through the end of summer, and feed on foliage within the webbing. 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 trunk typically grows about 2 feet in diameter but occasionally will be much wider. Birches grow best in full sun to partial shade sites. Features glossy green leaves that are 2–3" long and somewhat triangular. 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. Average Size at Maturity: Quickly reaches 40 to 60 ft. tall and wide; 70 ft. tall in ideal conditions. 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. But as a landscape tree, it can be planted almost anywhere in the U.S. Young trees can add 3 or 4 feet in a single season! These trees are great candidates for up-lighting. River birch wood was once used for ox yokes, wooden shoes and other products around the farm. May be more cold and heat tolerant than other cultivars. 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. 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. It should not be planted in high-use areas such as driveways, walks and patios, as dead branches tend to be messy. River birch is a medium to tall tree, growing 60-80 feet at maturity and about 40 wide. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. 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. 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