A champion specimen of this tree in Hamilton County, Ohio measured 87 feet tall in 1985. Plant a river birch tree in spring or fall when the soil is moist and the temperatures are cool. It is considered the most widely adapted of all the birches, and hardy throughout South Carolina. The River Birch (Betula nigra) is the most planted Birch in the United States and the best one for hot climates. The exfoliating bark reveals inner bark that is creamy white. Develops a cinnamon-colored bark that curls and peels (once mature). It may grow to 6 to 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide in 10 years. River birch (Betula nigra) trunk with exfoliating bark. The river birch grows to a height of 40–70' and a spread of 40–60' at maturity. The bark exfoliates on younger trees and opens to a lighter, salmon-colored trunk. Plus, it's an elegant source of shade, … Photo by Karen Russ, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension. The river birch is a large deciduous tree, typically growing to 40 to 70 feet tall, but may grow as high as 90 feet. It is a tree that has something to offer for every season.. Bloom Time: Inconspicuous; prized for foliage and bark. River Birch is a semi-aquatic plant and is a landscape tree due to its rich colours and appealing drooping branches. 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. The bark of younger trees is pinkish to reddish brown. Heritage® — glossy green foliage, oval growth habit, 50 feet tall and 35 feet wide at maturity River birch wood was once used for ox yokes, wooden shoes and other products around the farm. River birch is a medium to tall tree, growing 60-80 feet at maturity and about 40 wide. Join our mailing list to receive the latest updates from HGIC. The species grows as far south as USDA Zone 9. ‘Little King’ river birch (Betula nigra). In 2002, one of its cultivars was even named the Urban Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists. Growing River Birch Trees in the Landscape Dwarf weeping birch (Betula pendula Trost's Dwarf) is a variety you may want to consider. 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. COVID-19 Extension Updates and Resources ... More Information », Factsheet | HGIC 1005 | Updated: Sep 19, 2015 | Print. Janka Hardness: 970 lb f (4,320 N)* *Estimated hardness based on specific gravity Though they do best in moist conditions, they tolerate drier soil better than other birch trees do. The river birch can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–9. The exposed inner bark is gray-brown to cinnamon-brown to reddish brown. It causes no lasting damage. These roots will probably not crack or break concrete, but can easily find tiny cracks and hasten the process. The exfoliating bark reveals white inner bark. Noteworthy Characteristics. Copyright © 2021 Clemson UniversityClemson Cooperative Extension | 103 Barre Hall Clemson, SC 29634864-986-4310 | Contact [email protected], College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, Centipedegrass Yearly Maintenance Program, Heritage® (‘Cully’ PP4409) – This is the most prominent of all the cultivars. It is a deciduous and fast-growing tree or shrub. 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. Common Name(s): River Birch. Plants benefit with a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch and supplemental water in dry periods. Birch trees are renowned for their beautiful bark, and Heritage® River Birch is no exception. The River Birch is a very popular tree in most states due to its adaptable nature allowing it to grow in most growing zones. Distribution: Eastern United States. Prune river birch trees at the end of spring for dead, diseased or crossed branches. The foliage is eaten by deer and other browsers. 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. A full sun or part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in average, wet soils. River birch is not susceptible to invasion by the bronze birch borer, a common problem with other birches in the south. Hardiness zone 4. 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 is a hybrid of. It transplants easily and is most effective when planted in groupings. For one, think river birch gets BIG -- up to 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide. Birch trees, in the wild, grow best in cool, moist soils and have shallow root systems. 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. Mature river birch (Betula nigra) in a partially shady landscape.Photo by Karen Russ, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension. 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. Dura-Heat® (‘BNMTF’ PPAF) – This is a smaller cultivar that grows to 30 to 40 feet tall. River birch (Betula nigra) is a handsome tree that is native to the southeastern United States. The river birch grows to a height of 40–70' and a spread of 40–60' at maturity. 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 flowers are unisexual, borne in separate male and female catkins on the same tree. 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. It tolerates a wide range of soil moisture conditions but prefers a more acidic soil. Scientific Name: Betula nigra. City Slicker® (‘Whit XXV’ PP16573) – The exfoliating bark reveals creamy white inner bark. These trees are great candidates for up-lighting. Birches are considered “bleeders”, avoid pruning in late spring before leaves emerge. This native birch grows at a medium to rapid rate (30 to 40 feet over a 20-year period). The Arbor Day Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization. A million members, donors, and partners support our programs to make our world greener and healthier. It tolerates fairly dry soils once it is established, but does grow best in moist fertile soils. B. nigra commonly occurs in floodplains and swamps. Growth rate is medium. This shade tree has highly symmetrical branching and … It will tolerate moderate flooding as well as some drought. As its name suggests, the river birch naturally grows along riverbanks. This leaking of sap in the spring from recent wounds is not considered harmful, but may lead to concern that there is another problem. Salmon-pink, smooth and shiny at first, the bark flakes and curls in cinnamon-brown to blackish sheets. However, they typically occur late in the season and most are not significantly detrimental. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. River Birch Care. They tend to grow between 40 and 70 feet (12-21 m.) in height. Once the root system establishes, this giant will become an excellent shade tree. Although the river birch thrives in wet areas, it does not require excessive amounts of water. It requires acidic soils, and may suffer from iron deficiency if pH levels are 6.5 or higher. It is a dense, compact tree with glossy green leaves and exfoliating bark. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed. Photo by Karen Russ, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension. (Thuricide) or spinosad are the safer products to use for webworm control. And in Grumpy's opinion, the bigger a river birch gets, the less attractive it … This is too big for the average yard, especially when you consider how close to the house lots of people mistakenly plant it. It is faster-growing, has larger, glossier leaves and is less prone to leaf spot than the species. 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.