River Birch

Betula nigra

Betula nigra (River Birch) - full view

Full view

Betula nigra (River Birch) - leaves

Foliage detail

Betula nigra (River Birch) - bark

Bark detail

  • Size:

    Height: 50-90'; Spread: 40-60'

  • Growth:

    Moderate to fast

  • Character:

    Deciduous; broad, pyramidal canopy; trunk often forks low.

  • Foliage:

    Dark green, oval leaves with 5-9 paired veins, 1-4" long. Orange-yellow in the fall.

  • Flower:

    Tassel-like flowers in early spring. Male flowers are 2-3" long and hang in clusters of 3; Female flowers 1/2" at branch spurs near male flowers.

  • Fruit:

    Fruiting catkins are 1-1.5" long, green maturing to brown.

  • Bark:

    Tan to brown bark with pinkish hues, peeling in strips. Darkens in age.

  • Watering:

    In general, 15-20 gallons per week for the first 2 years; 15-20 gallons twice a month for the 3rd year; as needed after 3 years (varies by soil, sun, and wind conditions).

  • Tree Care:

    Low. Prune to shape.

  • Tolerance:

    Tolerates shade, loam or sandy soil, and medium winds.

  • Special Considerations:

    Chlorosis develop in High pH situations. Prone to aphid and caterpillar infestation. Wants moisture.

  • Notable Traits:

    Native to eastern United States. Often grows multiple trunks. Attracts birds foraging for food.