River Birch, Black birch, Red birch, Water birch
|Mature Plant Size||Height: 50 to 70 feet
Wide: 30 to 40 feet
|Time to Maturity||5 years|
|Plant habitat||Wet ground|
|Best Temprature to grow||−26.1 °C (−15 °F) to −17.8 °C (0 °F)|
|Plant type||Deciduous, Tree|
|Leaves||Foilage color: Gold, Yellow|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||5, 6|
|Care and Maintenance||Easy|
|Soil pHs||5.6 - 6.0 (Moderately acidic)|
|Soil types||Clay, Loamy (Silt), Sandy|
|Sun exposure||Full Sun|
|Plant life||Perennial plant|
|Special Features||Attracts Birds, Erosion control|
|Spacing||Space between plant 30 feet.|
Foliage Color: Gold, Yellow
The foliage/leaves are alternate, simple, 1-3 inches long, and oval-shaped with serrated edges; they are green above and whitish underneath.
Flowers are inconspicuous
The winged fruit is small, brown, and borne in clusters in the spring.
|Pest and Diseases||
European Wild Ginger, Lady Fern
Name in other Languages
- Azerbaijani: Qara tozağacı
- Bashkir: Ҡара ҡайын
- Bokmål: Svartbjørk
- Dutch: Rode berk
- Finnish: Mustakoivu
- French: Bouleau noir
- German: Schwarz-Birke
- Hungarian: fekete nyír
- Icelandic: Svartbjörk
- Komi: Сьӧд кыдз
- Norwegian: Svartbjørk
- Persian: توس سیاه
- Polish: Brzoza nadrzeczna
- Russian: Берёза чёрная
- Swedish: Svartbjörk
- Turkish: Kara huş
River birch is a plant lover’s tree; it changes each season to reveal another unique characteristic. Like other birches in late winter, the river birch develops male flowers called “catkins” which hang at least two inches from the branches. Following the flowers are pyramid-shaped river birch leaves of a dark, glossy green; the edges are highly serrated. The leaves turn bright yellow in the fall. Winter reveals a trunk and branches with beautiful beige bark. The outer layers of bark peel away to reveal lighter inner bark with a creamy color. On older trees, the bark tears off in large sheets. Plant this tree near an evergreen background with some spring daffodils at the base for an exquisite effect. River birch is also the solution for the gardener who has to have a fast-growing tree. It is an all-around outstanding landscape plant.
The river birch is a native tree in Indiana and adapts to many growing conditions. It grows as a single stem or a multi-stem, clump¬ forming specimen. The multi-stem form is more interesting
When to plant
River birch is slow to regenerate new roots after transplanting. Plant it in early spring for best results. The second-best time for planting is late fall.
Where to plant
As the name suggests, river birch likes moisture and can tolerate low spots that hold a lot of water. It grows alongside stream banks in its native habitat but also tolerates drier soils. The ideal site should be moist but well-drained with high organic matter content. River birch does best in acidic soil and sometimes will develop chlorosis in alkaline planting conditions. Chlorosis causes the leaves to turn yellow while the leaf veins stay green. Plant river birch close to the patio for shade or near a window so you can enjoy the bark in winter.
How to plant
Plant balled-and-burlapped specimens by preparing a planting hole 4 times the width of the rootball. Dig the hole deep enough so that the top of the rootball is level with the ground around it. Remove any twine or wire from around the trunk and cut away the burlap or wire basket to half the height of the rootball. Backfill with the original soil and water deeply. Spread a 2 to 3 inch layer of organic mulch around the planting area.
River birch needs 1 to 14/2 inches of water each week, especially in the heat of summer. During prolonged dry weather, random leaves will turn yellow and drop to the ground to protect the birch from drought. Broadcast an all-purpose fertilizer around the root zone in early November, especially during the first 5 to 10 years after trans¬ planting. Prune to remove dead branches or shape in midsummer or late fall. River birch is resistant to the bronze birch borer, an insect responsible for the early demise of countless white birch trees each year.