It’s easy to see why the River Birch tree is so popular—its unique, delicate curling birch bark naturally peels to expose beautiful flakes of cinnamon and it can be seen boosting the character of landscapes anywhere from the Deep South to the Great Lakes!
The cinnamon-colored, peeling bark of this black birch tree is what makes it a spectacular addition to landscapes in the winter. The River Birch features lustrous, medium-green leaves that are diamond shaped. The leaves turn yellow once the weather drops giving it great fall color. Being a deciduous tree, they will drop for the winter season.
Likely to be found on river banks and streams, this reddish brown tree grows well in a variety of conditions and has an attractive, exfoliating bark. A great choice for most places in the United States. Exactly as its name states, it is a semi aquatic tree meaning it likes to grow near bodies of water and controls erosion.
River Birch fruit appears in the fall season, is cone shaped, and a little over an inch long. The cone contains plentiful seeds that are hairy and that travel by wind and water. This fast growing tree is the only spring-fruiting birch and the only native birch whose range includes the southeastern coastal plain.
Planting River Birch
The tree is tolerant of both wet & moist soils and is heat tolerant in dry summer weather as well as salt tolerant soil conditions. The River Birch prefers alkaline soils so be sure to test your soil pH when planting specimen trees. Planting river birch is easy once the planting site is established. In some hot environments, leaves turn yellow. The solution to this is making sure the soil stays consistently moist.
The river birch will grow up to 40 to 80 feet tall at mature height and 20-30 feet wide at mature width. The River Birch growth rate is moderate to fast once established. The River birch Betula nigra grows up to 1-3 feet per year. Its life is short, but it grows at a medium to fast rate and provides privacy quickly.
River Birch does not do well in partial shade, a characteristic of “pioneer” species (plants that are the first to colonize an open habitat) so be sure to plant this type of landscape tree in an area exposed to full sun. Once the root system establishes, this giant will become an excellent shade tree.
River Birch Care
It grows best in plant hardiness USDA hardiness zones 4-9. Prune river birch trees at the end of spring for dead, diseased, or crossed branches.
Birch trees are relatively free of pests and diseases. Luckily, it is the most borer resistant birch variety. This means it is least likely to get torn by wood destroying organisms.
One exception to this rule is the bronze birch borer. These metallic beetles can bore the wood of birch trees and devastate a tree after a few years of chewing. Proper care includes watering, pruning, mulching, and fertilizing to help manage these pests.
This River Birch tree for sale is rooted in its container with soil. These are not bare root trees. Buy river birch for a lovely tree to add to your yard or landscape.
- Showy bark
- Yellow fall color
- Fast growing
- Shade tree