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Consider Planting River Birch in Your Yard


River Birch or Betula Nigra:

River birch's "Heritage" cultivar was selected 2002 Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists. The tree's wood has very little commercial value but river birch is extremely popular as an ornamental. It is hardy for all U.S. climate zones, is fast-growing, nicely forked, and wind and ice resistant. River birch peels in colorful flakes of brown, salmon, peach, orange, and lavender and is a bonus for regions deprived of paper and white birches.

Habit and Range:

River birch is well named as it loves riparian (wet) zones, adapts well to wet sites and reaches its maximum size in rich alluvial soils of the lower Mississippi Valley. However, the tree is very heat-tolerant and can survive modest droughts. River birch transplants easily at any age and grows into a medium tree of about 40' to 70'. River birch occupies a large eastern north-south ranges in North America - from Minnesota to Florida. The tree is very intolerant to shade.

Strong Cultivars:

Here are some of the best river birch cultivars: 'Heritage', 'Dura-Heat'

Identification of River Birch:

River Birch Hardiness Zones:

River birch hardy through zone 4...

See Plant Hardiness Zones

Expert Comments:

"Most birches are known for their beautiful bark, which can dominate any landscape in the dormant season." - Guy Sternberg, Native Trees for North American Landscapes

"Only the shaggy brown river birch seems truly adapted to cities, holding its own with urban heat blasts and the deadly borer."- Arthur Plotnik, The Urban Tree Book

"'Heritage'[river birch] is an excellent selection with superior vigor, larger leaves, and greater resistance to leaf spot."- Michael Dirr, Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs

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