An alternate common name is "black" birch, which is reflected in the species name, nigra (Latin for "black"). Their shapes vary from the oval form of white birch to the shape that characterizes the river birch. Each beautiful leaf is different, and looks like a custom work of art up close. It is a Latin derived word and it’s used to standardize a leaf for scientific research. Birches are considered “bleeders”, avoid pruning in late spring before leaves emerge. They are also more borer-resistant than most birches. Grow these two trees if you live in Canada or the northern tier of U.S. states (planting zones 2 to 6). Their height and spread are similar to that of river birch trees. Another birch tree grown as much for its peeling bark as for its fall foliage is the paper birch (Betula papyrifera). Pests Bronze birch borer is a … This tree is an excellent tree for all seasons; the fall and winter interest is spectacular. But the birches boast other traits, too, that will catch the attention of homeowners seeking year-round interest in the yard. River birch seed germinates quickly in mud, allowing it to grow in areas where it helps prevent erosion. Several Seasons of Color From One Tough Tree Why Dura Heat® River Birch Trees? Bark more showy than the regular native species. River birch (Betula nigra): Sometimes called black birch, this species has a much darker trunk than the paper birch, but still has the characteristic flaky surface. ‘Cully' - Broadly pyramidal, with lighter bark than the species and large, glossy green leaves. Scientific Leaf Names. In addition to its white bark and yellow fall foliage, the form of this tree provides landscaping interest. It is fast growing and provides shade about as quickly as any tree can. But it derives its common name not from the color of its foliage, but rather from the color of its peeling bark. Yellow birches should be grown in full sun to partial shade, in planting zones 4 to 7. The fall foliage of paper birch trees is similar to that of gray birch trees (Betula populifolia). The bark of this tree is famous for another reason, too: as the material for birch-bark canoes. Shape: Pyramidal or … Heritage® river birch. Send mail to with questions about this site. "River" birch is called so because, in its native habitat, it is often found growing near rivers. • Protective wraps may not be necessary at planting time. szechuanica x Betula pendula. Secondary Names: red birch Leaf Type: Deciduous Texas Native: Firewise: Tree Description: Usually a medium-sized tree to 40 feet tall and one or more trunks 8" to 12" in diameter, but can reach heights of up to 90 feet, with an oval crown of drooping branches. The specific type of aphid that feeds on river birch foliage is known as the spiny witch-hazel gall aphid. The foliage is eaten by deer and other browsers. Each tree belongs to a plant family. Leaf Type and Shape - Simple, ovate to narrow-ovate. This is a reference to its bark, which starts out salmon but turns darker as … ... Birch, River Common Name: River Birch Betula nigra Tree Size: Large Leaf Type: Deciduous Comments: Works well as multiple trunk specimen. Thanks to its shallow root system, river birch is easy to transplant. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series. River birch seed ripens in May and June. These specimens are full-sun trees, but they will also tolerate partial shade. River birch can be used as a screen or shade tree, and as a street tree with irrigation. An alternate common name is "black" birch, which is reflected in the species name, nigra (Latin for "black"). This site was last updated on December 18, 2020. But gray birch trees grow in clumps, producing multiple trunks, and their bark, which does not peel, is not especially attractive. River birch is widely planted for its appealing, peeling bark and shiny, diamond-shaped leaves. The common name of a leaf can change depending on your location. H. E. Grelen. Weeping Cherry Trees and Other Cascading Trees, 12 Trees With Brilliant Fall Color Plus Other Advantages, 15 Varieties of Japanese Maple Trees With Colorful Foliage. Plants benefit with a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch and supplemental water in dry periods. Grow it in zones 4 to 7 in full sun to partial shade. It will grow about 30 inches or more each year in USDA hardiness zone 7, faster in the South. Keep reading to learn more river birch tree facts, such as river birch tree care and effectively using river birch trees in … It has a narrow, pyramidal to oval crown with many fine branches when young, spreading wider and becoming more oval with age, with several branches eventually becoming dominant. Growth rate: fast Texture: medium Foliage Leaf arrangement: alternate (Fig. European White Birch, Silver Birch. Shiloh Splash River Birch Tree(Betula nigra 'Shiloh Splash') has the most amazing variegated leaves, along with the charming exfoliating bark you love. The UF|IFAS says the scientific name of a leaf is the same worldwide. River birch was first cultivated in 1736. River birch is distinguished by having alternate, simple leaves, 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long, 3/4 to 2 1/2 inches wide, sharp pointed, double toothed or shallowly lobed, with a wedge shaped base. Jacquemonti Birch, White-barked Himalayan Birch. Site design : Academic Web Pages. The chalky bark, or “paper,” is more striking than that of the river birch trees, sometimes attaining to almost a pure white (which is why it is also sometimes called "white birch"). Still relatively short-lived when compared to many shade trees. Salmon-pink, smooth and shiny at first, the bark flakes and curls in cinnamon-brown to blackish sheets. Aphids and sooty mold can be problems on river birches. Companion plants grown with a birch tree need to complement -- not hide or visually overpower -- the ornamental features of the birch and grow in a climate and soil that already favors the birch tree. A tall tree (60 to 80 feet) with a spread of about 30 feet, it has yellow fall foliage. Grows well in wet areas. WARNING: Some websites to which these materials provide links for the convenience of users are not managed by the University of Kentucky. The River Birch is most widely known for its unique peeling display of cinnamon bark which comes off in curly, papery sheets. An Equal Opportunity University. Leaf of river birch. - Narrow, pyramidal growth habit when young. G. Lumis. The “National Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees” describes river birch leaves as being “nearly four-sided;” their irregular shape somewhat resembling that of a diamond. Trunks are wrapped with peeling sheets of papery bark. Leaf Margins - Coarsely and doubly-serrate, sharp ... River Birch (B. nigra) - Resistant to bronze birch borers, but many sources are questionable in hardiness and adaptation in North Dakota. Leaf Type: Deciduous Comments: Good long-lived shade tree. River birch is a fast-growing, deciduous semi-aquatic tree that reaches between 50 and 90 feet in height. Neurobetula Species: B. nigra Binomial name Betula nigra L. Natural range of Betula nigra 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 sou Shiny, … It has larger, glossier leaves, is hardy to at least -40 degrees F, and is able to adapt to the heat of the deep South. Copyright 2020, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Its fall foliage color is yellow. Spread: 40 to 60 feet. Noteworthy Characteristics. River birch can be easily trained with one central leader or as a … A beautiful, fast-growing shade tree that thrives from North to South, the Dura Heat® River Birch is one-of-a-kind. The tree is the only birch found in the Southern U.S., ranging from Florida to eastern Texas, and is … For graduate student information, contact Dr. Doug Archbold at 859-257-3352, or, River Birch - Betula nigraBirch Family (Betulaceae). Learn about several members of this species that you may want to grow if you value beautiful, versatile trees. Birch trees prefer to occupy habitats in cool, moist areas, including peatlands (moors, peatbogs), river banks, and lakeshores. The university does not review, control or take responsibility for the contents of those sites. The river birch is a popular tree for river banks and wet parts of the garden. River birch trees tolerate the summer heat better than paper birch trees, meaning they are better suited to grow in warmer regions. For undergraduate student information regarding the Sustainable Agriculture program, contact Dr. Krista Jacobsen at (859) 257-3921, or For general undergraduate student information, contact Dr. Rick Durham at (859) 257-3249, or The fall foliage color is yellow. River birch is drought sensitive and does not like hot, dry summers. "River" birch is called so because, in its native habitat, it is often found growing near rivers. Plant Family. Use wraps based on type of protection needed. It can be grown in planting zones 3 to 9. The Kentucky champion tree is in Johnson County and is 80 feet tall. Its attractive bark is especially striking in the winter when the rest of the tree is bare. Its bark is whiter than any birch resistant to bronze birch borer. Betula nigra The bark of a young river birch Conservation status Least Concern Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae Clade: Tracheophytes Clade: Angiosperms Clade: Eudicots Clade: Rosids Order: Fagales Family: Betulaceae Genus: Betula Subgenus: Betula subg. Reported to have other better features than the regular native river birch. We have an inventory of over 500 heavy earthmoving machines and watering equipment, which we are continually upgrading. Betula nigra-- River Birch Page 2 Crown density: dense Figure 2. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. This exceptional cultivar of a native River Birch tree really takes the visual impact up several levels. Description This is a medium to large-sized deciduous tree (25 – 30 meters) often having multiple trunks. Scientific Name: Betula nigra. It normally grows with a central leader and small-diameter, dark-colored lateral branches. River Birch, Red Birch. Another “white” birch is Young’s weeping birch (Betula pendula Youngii), a dwarf variety that reaches a height of 6 to 12 feet at maturity. Birch leaves are simple in form, with a single blade comprising the leaf. The bark peels in a manner of thin curly sheets. ‘Heritage' - Heat-loving, highly adaptive cultivar that won a Pennsylvania Horticulture Society Gold Medal in 1990. The ripening of seed coincides with high water levels of rivers, its native setting, allowing the seed to be carried long distances by the water. Cherry Birch (Betula lenta) Cherry birch is a large tree that grows from a single main trunk. Most importantly, sweet birch bears a more reliably strong, golden-yellow fall foliage than most other birches (whose autumn leaves sometimes lapse into paler yellows). These are units that are no longer needed in our rental operations, but are ready to work for a new owner. river birch Betula nigra. The color of the bark is variable ranging from brown to creamy white. It lacks the white trunk bark associated with other birches but is distinguished by reddish-brown bark peeling off in film-like papery curls providing interest all year round. As a landscape plant, it is grown as a single-stem tree or in a clump as a multi-stemmed tree with three or more trunks. Its parent, Betula pendula, is the European white birch. ‘Heritage' is better than river birch seedlings produced by cuttings and tissue culture, and has been shown to outgrow the seedlings by 50 percent. 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. • … If misused, however, damage may occur from trunk girdling or constriction, insects, diseases and excessive moisture. Betula nigra L.. River Birch. River birches are attractive when planted in groups, especially against a dark background. 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. Heritage River Birch. ECCO Equipment operates out of 13 locations throughout the western US. Plant it in full sun to partial shade. They can be multi-trunked trees or grown to have just one trunk. This is a reference to its bark, which starts out salmon but turns darker as it matures. We also have a large selection of equipment for sale. More About this Tree ... Birch, River Common Name: River Birch Betula nigra Tree Size: Large Leaf Type: Deciduous Comments: Works well as multiple trunk specimen. Some trees may have naturalized in the wild from yards and gardens, but several populations in New England are native, and the species is listed as rare in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Introduction: River birch, the only semi-aquatic tree among Betulaceae, is the most widely distributed birch in the United States and the best one for hot climates. The plant grows to be 40 to 50 feet tall, with a spread of 35 to 45 feet. Summary. Both the foliage and the bark makes this specimen one of the fragrant plants. This lovely tree grows in cold areas and hot and humid conditions, a span that includes frigid Maine and Minnesota all the way down to hot and humid Florida and Texas. They are native to this region, and they prefer its cool temperatures. But do not settle for trees alone when it comes to growing plants for fall color, because there are plenty of shrubs and vines with fall color that gives you additional choices (in fact, being smaller, such plants may be better suited to small yards). Betula platyphylla var. River birch trees can be grown in planting zones 4 to 9. Betulaceae -- Birch family. Name: River Birch (Betula nigra), also known as water birch, or black birch. The veins of the leaves run directly to the teeth from the mid-vein of the leaf. In early summer it moves on to witch hazel foliage, but will not infest any other plant. N-318 Ag Sciences Center University of Kentucky Lexington, KY 40546-0091, Fax (Lexington): 859-257-2859       (Princeton): 270-365-2667, For questions about home gardening, landscaping or commercial horticulture production, please contact your county extension agent. Shaded area represents potential planting range. Plant them in full sun to partial shade. David Beaulieu is a garden writer with nearly 20 years experience writing about landscaping and over 10 years experience working in nurseries. This bark sheds like that of the paper and river birch trees. In the spring this aphid feeds on river birch leaves. Crimson Frost Birch. Its diamond shaped, double-toothed leaves produce an … As suggested by its name, the branches of this birch tree droop, or “weep” down towards the ground. Prefers loamy, well-drained soils, but works on dry sites as well. River birch can grow 50 to 90 feet tall but is often seen 40 to 50 feet. Betula species such as river birch trees (Betula nigra) are among the best selections for fall foliage specimens. River Birch Betula nigra. 'Purpurea' 'Crimson Frost'. Leaf Type: Deciduous Comments: Adapted to many soil and moisture conditions. River birch occurs frequently along stream banks throughout Kentucky, except in the Bluegrass region. Paper Birch, White Birch, Canoe Birch. They shed their bark like the paper birches. The catkins of the River Birch are used by redpolls and pine siskins. The trees' peeling bark is as attractive as the fall foliage. Native to the Eastern U.S., they will reach a height of 40 to 70 feet with a spread of 25 to 35 feet. River birch (Betula nigra) is a fast-growing, shade tree native to the Mississippi River flood plain in southeastern Minnesota.It is popular for its ornamental peeling bark. Birch trees are chosen for gardens because they display colorful, paper-like or shredding bark and tend to have a bright yellow fall leaf color. It has a narrow, oval to pyramidal crown when young, spreading wider with age as several branches become dominant. It should be pruned in summer because it bleeds if pruned in spring. Click here, then click on your county either on the map or from the list of counties below it. River birch (Betula nigra) is an adaptable tree growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4 through 9. Yellow Birch. Height: 40 to 70 feet. Some of the other shapes of birch leaves include the almost triangular outline of gray birch and the oblong form of sweet birch. Speaking more accurately, the bark is silvery-bronze in color with hints of gold. Vigorous and fast growing, this birch has a large, pyramidal, upright habit and bears diamond-shaped, glossy green leaves with silvery undersides, which turn yellow in fall. Foliage: Triangular green leaves with toothed edges, yellow fall colour. River Birch Fungus. Sweet birch (Betula lenta) has dark-colored bark. Birch can be found in larger numbers in cool damp woods and forests were the ground does not dry out for most of the year. Another of the attractive non-white birch trees is the yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis). Betula nigra (River Birch) is a bushy deciduous tree prized for its incredible peeling bark. Has good resistance to bronze birch borer. The small but plentiful seeds are appreciated by a wide range of songbirds. A North American native, 'Heritage' river birch can grow 50 to 80 feet tall but is often seen at 40 to 50 feet. as ash, birch, linden, and maple. Bark: Salmon-colored bark that peels; lighter in color than the native river birch.