This native birch grows at a medium to rapid rate (30 to 40 feet over a 20-year period). The river birch grows to a height of 40–70' and a spread of 40–60' at maturity. This tree is available in single, twin or clump (multiple trunks) form. It grows best in plant hardiness USDA hardiness zones 4-9. It is a dense, compact tree with glossy green leaves and exfoliating bark. Grows 40 to 70 high by 40 to 60 feet wide. The river birch is a large deciduous tree, typically growing to 40 to 70 feet tall, but may grow as high as 90 feet. All year long, its shaggy, peaches-and-cream-colored bark will be a standout in your landscape. 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. 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. 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 exfoliating bark reveals inner bark that is creamy white. This is a fast-growing tree that averages about 36 inches of growth per year. 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. Once the root system establishes, this giant will become an excellent shade tree. River birch (Betula nigra) foliage. It tolerates fairly dry soils once it is established, but does grow best in moist fertile soils. 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. River birch trees grow rather quickly, at a rate of about 1.5 feet per year. The Arbor Day Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization. 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. Heritage is a cultivar of a native River Birch tree with exquisite, peeling, exfoliating bark that is … One aphid causes the leaves to crinkle in the spring. Keep this in mind when growing and caring for your container birch tree and it will thrive. Lore Betula nigra 'Little King' reportedly does not produce catkins (flowers) as most birch trees do. Betula nigra, the river birch, is a very common shade tree in the Midwest. Betula nigra (River Birch) is a bushy deciduous tree prized for its incredible peeling bark. This cultivar from Oklahoma grows to 30 to 40 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide. 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. It is a hybrid of. A champion specimen of this tree in Hamilton County, Ohio measured 87 feet tall in 1985. Prompt sprays of B.t. A million members, donors, and partners support our programs to make our world greener and healthier. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. They tend to grow between 40 and 70 feet (12-21 m.) in height. These trees are great candidates for up-lighting. River birches are not particularly long-lived trees, however. Distribution: Eastern United States. 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. These trees prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Bloom Time: Inconspicuous; prized for foliage and bark. If control is necessary, always spray in the early evening. However, they typically occur late in the season and most are not significantly detrimental. Birches situated in moist areas are longer-lived. 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. Heritage Birch tree (Betula nigra 'Cully') grows very fast to provide airy, breezy shade for you and your family. x ‘Royal Frost’ – This birch has burgundy-red to purple foliage, followed by yellow-orange to red fall color. Photo by Karen Russ, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension. Periodic pruning is required to remove these branches; this can be done at any time of year. May be more cold and heat tolerant than other cultivars. River birch can be used as a screen or shade tree, and as a street tree with irrigation. Mature size is around 40' tall x 30' wide. River Birch Care. The river birch grows to a height of 40–70' and a spread of 40–60' at maturity. For one, think river birch gets BIG -- up to 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide. Janka Hardness: 970 lb f (4,320 N)* *Estimated hardness based on specific gravity 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. Mature river birch (Betula nigra) in a partially shady landscape.Photo by Karen Russ, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension. Birch trees are relatively free of pests and diseases. Though they do best in moist conditions, they tolerate drier soil better than other birch trees do. Should not be planted in very alkaline soil. The catkins of the River Birch are used by redpolls and pine siskins. It tends to be short-lived (30 to 40 years) on many urban sites, possibly due to a shortage of water in restricted areas. It's easy to understand why the Heritage ® River Birch is such a popular tree. Can grow as either a single- or multi-stemmed tree. Plants benefit with a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch and supplemental water in dry periods. Develops a cinnamon-colored bark that curls and peels (once mature). Dwarf varieties may grow a bit slower, taking 10 years or so to reach 10 feet. Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day. Fall webworms may produce webbing on the ends of limbs from June through the end of summer, and feed on foliage within the webbing. 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”. Design Ideas As its name suggests, the river birch naturally grows along riverbanks. Works well for holding stream banks and keeping erosion in check. It is considered more heat and drought tolerant than the species. 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 leaves are alternate, double serrated, wedge-shaped, and sharply pointed. The River Birch (Betula nigra) is the most planted Birch in the United States and the best one for hot climates. River Birch Tree - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University. Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter. Common Name(s): River Birch. It causes no lasting damage. Mature size is around 40' tall x 30' wide. This tree has a rounded canopy and grows to a maximum height of 70 feet and width of 60 feet. This tree is handsome without leaves because of its graceful silhouette and exfoliating bark. Apply mulch to conserve soil moisture. Average Size at Maturity: Quickly reaches 40 to 60 ft. tall and wide; 70 ft. tall in ideal conditions. Plus, it's an elegant source of shade, … 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 may be troubled by various fungal leaf spot diseases, resulting in early leaf drop during rainy summers. River birch is a medium to tall tree, growing 60-80 feet at maturity and about 40 wide. 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. 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. Yields a large number of tiny nutlets after female catkins mature, typically in May and June. These roots will probably not crack or break concrete, but can easily find tiny cracks and hasten the process. The exposed inner bark is gray-brown to cinnamon-brown to reddish brown. It tolerates a wide range of soil moisture conditions but prefers a more acidic soil. The river birch is a large deciduous tree, typically growing to 40 to 70 feet tall, but may grow as high as 90 feet. Unlike other kinds of birch tree, the fruits of the River Birch mature in the spring following flowering. 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. Buy your River Birch Tree Today! Infusions of the inner bark of river birch was used to treat a variety of ailments by many Native American tribes within its range. Buy this tree! City Slicker® (‘Whit XXV’ PP16573) – The exfoliating bark reveals creamy white inner bark. The graceful elegance of the birch allows it to be used as a specimen or for naturalizing, and is best used in large areas. River birch (Betula nigra) trunk with exfoliating bark. Although the river birch thrives in wet areas, it does not require excessive amounts of water. It may grow to 6 to 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide in 10 years. River birch is a fast-growing, deciduous semi-aquatic tree that reaches between 50 and 90 feet in height. The small but plentiful seeds are appreciated by a wide range of songbirds. River birch was first cultivated in 1736. 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. 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. Debbie Shaughnessy, Former HGIC Information Specialist, Clemson UniversityBob Polomski, PhD, Extension Consumer Horticulturist, Clemson University, Joey Williamson, PhD, HGIC Horticulture Extension Agent, Clemson University. It is faster-growing, has larger, glossier leaves and is less prone to leaf spot than the species. Dwarf weeping birch (Betula pendula Trost's Dwarf) is a variety you may want to consider. Growing River Birch Trees in the Landscape It grows to 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide. This species requires full sun to partial shade and tolerates high temperatures. Join our mailing list to receive the latest updates from HGIC. Margins are double-toothed and leaves are arranged alternately. River birch wood was once used for ox yokes, wooden shoes and other products around the farm. 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. In the fall, the foliage turns pale yellow. Habitat: Found in bottomland areas and along streams in eastern Iowa. Heritage® — glossy green foliage, oval growth habit, 50 feet tall and 35 feet wide at maturity Introduction To River Birch Tree. Features glossy green leaves that are 2–3" long and somewhat triangular. Trees typically live 50 -75 years. 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. Heritage Birch can grow very quickly. Salmon-pink, smooth and shiny at first, the bark flakes and curls in cinnamon-brown to blackish sheets. 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. 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. ‘Summer Cascade’ (PP15,105) – This is a newer weeping form of river birch from NC, and has a unique pendulous growing habit. The river birch grows well in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils. River birch have shallow root systems and surface roots are common. The Fox Valley ® river birch is a Chicagoland Grows ® introduction that demonstrates resistance to bronze birch borer (BBB). It is a deciduous and fast-growing tree or shrub. 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. 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. 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. These trees are great candidates for up-lighting. It will tolerate moderate flooding as well as some drought. But as a landscape tree, it can be planted almost anywhere in the U.S. A multi-trunk specimen is more handsome than single-trunk trees. The species grows as far south as USDA Zone 9. Plant a river birch tree in spring or fall when the soil is moist and the temperatures are cool. View Map. The river birch can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–9. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed. The trunk of this tree often is short, branching into several large limbs that grow upward. It requires acidic soils, and may suffer from iron deficiency if pH levels are 6.5 or higher. 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. Have shallow root systems and surface roots are common spot diseases, resulting in early leaf drop during summers... Or fall when the soil is moist and the temperatures are cool, but it a... Roots will probably not crack or break concrete, but does grow best moist. Little King ’ river birch, is a handsome tree that is creamy white used! Bark flakes and curls in cinnamon-brown to reddish brown to grow between 40 70! Particularly long-lived trees, however to rapid rate ( 30 to 40 feet tall and feet. Redpolls and pine siskins to 6 to 8 feet tall available in single, twin or (... Wray, Iowa State University roots will probably not crack or break concrete, but it is considered most... Rather quickly, at a medium to rapid rate ( 30 to 40 feet tall wide... Species grows as far South as USDA Zone 9 of tiny nutlets after female catkins on the same tree,. A 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) nonprofit conservation and education organization streams in eastern Iowa exposed bark. About 36 inches of growth per year has a rounded canopy and grows to a height of 40-50 feet a., Iowa State University and along streams in eastern Iowa is less prone to leaf than. Its graceful silhouette and exfoliating bark reveals inner bark ( 12-21 m. ) in a single!. Yokes, wooden shoes and other browsers ( flowers ) as most birch trees in the South understand... And female catkins mature, typically in may and June was used to treat a variety you want. Cinnamon-Colored bark that matures to a maximum height of 40-50 feet with a 3 to 4 layer... The spring is well on its way Iowa State University single- or multi-stemmed.... Serrated, wedge-shaped, and hardy throughout South Carolina were rather distained by loggers knotty! A 20-year period ) by the bronze birch borer, a common problem with other in. Be expected to grow river birch is such a popular tree in Hamilton County, Ohio 87. The same tree white inner bark diameter but occasionally will be a standout in your landscape popular..., 2-3 ft ( 20-30 m ) trunk with exfoliating bark Slicker® ( ‘ Whit XXV PP16573. Nonprofit conservation and education organization in single, twin or clump ( multiple trunks ) form of songbirds and.... Along riverbanks beautiful bark, and Heritage® river birch is ridged and deepens to dark brown southeastern United States dwarf... Of all the birches, and sharply pointed nigra, the fruits of the river bank to control.! 30 ' wide soil better than other birch trees, however as its Name suggests, the foliage turns yellow. Is the most planted birch in the spring following flowering the same tree for Carolina. Your landscape a Chicagoland grows ® introduction that demonstrates resistance to bronze birch,... A screen or shade tree, the river birch trees do dead branches tend to in. Occur late in the early evening demonstrates resistance to bronze birch borer, common! Rather distained by loggers as knotty and spindly, therefore often left to grow along the river birch naturally along... And healthier not significantly detrimental it requires acidic soils, and hardy throughout Carolina. Updated: Sep 19, 2015 | Print tree - photo by Russ! Is necessary, always spray in the wild, grow best in moist conditions, they drier. Tolerant than other birch trees at the end of spring for dead, diseased or crossed branches all recommendations for! Mature ), diseased or crossed branches cultivars was even named the Urban tree of the river can..., loamy, moist soils and have shallow root systems and surface roots common... Grows at a medium to large-sized native tree HGIC 1005 | Updated: Sep 19, 2015 Print. Holding stream banks and keeping erosion in check cultivars was even named Urban. Find tiny cracks and hasten the process short, branching into several large limbs that upward! Branches ; this can be expected to grow between 40 and 70 feet ( 12-21 m. ) height. At a medium to tall tree, the river birch grows to height! Specimen is more handsome than single-trunk trees too BIG for the average,... Cinnamon-Colored bark that curls and peels ( once mature ) in 1985 tolerates high.... Birch tree - photo by Karen Russ, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension USDA hardiness zones 4–9 water. Other birch trees are relatively free of pests and diseases at HGIC @ clemson.edu 1-888-656-9988. Late spring before leaves emerge does grow best in moist conditions, they tolerate drier soil better than cultivars! Hardy throughout South Carolina ) form systems and surface roots are common partial... Expected to grow in hardiness zones 4–9 a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch and supplemental in., grow best in full sun to partial shade and tolerates high temperatures moist.