It’s easy to see why the River Birch tree is so popular—its unique, delicate bark naturally peels to expose beautiful flakes of cinnamon and can be seen boosting the character of landscapes anywhere from the Deep South to the Great Lakes!
The cinnamon-colored, peeling bark of this birch is what makes it a spectacular addition to landscapes in the winter. The River Birch features lustrous, medium-green leaves and it is the most borer resistant birch, meaning it is least likely to get torn by wood destroying organisms.
Tolerant of both wet, moist soils and is heat tolerant in dry summers, the river birch will grow up to 40-80 feet tall. It has an extremely fast growth rate in addition to its heat tolerance. The River birch betula nigra grows up to 1-3 feet per year. Its life is short, but it grows fast. 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 tree in an area exposed to full sun.
River Birch fruit is a cone, a little over an inch long. The cone contains hairy seeds 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. It grows best in USDA plant hardiness zones 4-9.
Likely to be found on river and stream banks, 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.
- Showy bark
- Yellow fall color
- Fast growing
- Shade tree