Bark of river birch
Leaf of river birch
Scientific Name: Betula nigra
Foliage: Triangular green leaves with toothed edges, yellow fall colour
Bark: Salmon-colored bark that peels; lighter in color than the native river birch
Height: 40 to 70 feet
Spread: 40 to 60 feet
Shape: Pyramidal or oval, often multitrunked
Growth Characteristics: Fast-growing
The River Birch is often chosen for its attractive bark and ability to resist disease. The colourful, peeling bark will add interest to a winter landscape. A good tree for landscaping properties, especially at the edges of ponds and streams or in low areas.
Light: Full to partial sun
Moisture: Best in moist soil, tolerates heat and drought once established
Soil Type: Prefers acid and moist soil but will adapt to clayey, wet soil
Transplanting should be done in early spring. Fertilize once or twice per year with a specially formulated fertilizer for Birch trees. Water to keep the soil wet or moist a few inches below the surface. Prune off lower branches to reveal the attractive bark but do not prune during the growing season. Rather, wait until the end of the growing season in the fall. This is especially important because the bronze birch borer is active during the spring and open pruning wounds are inviting to them.
Although resistant to Bronze Birch Borer, it is susceptible to limited Birch Leafminer attacks.
Iron deficiency may occur, especially in alkaline soils. This is evident by yellowing of the leaves. This problem is refered to as Chlorosis and can be treated by introducing iron tablets into the soil.