Description: Exfoliating reddish-brown bark that reveals smooth, pale inner bark; green female and brown male catkins in spring; 2-3” glossy green leaves turn yellow in fall
Habit: Grows up to 70’ high as a single trunk tree or closer to 50’ as a multi-trunked specimen; fast-growing; more heat-tolerant than other birches
Culture: Prefers full sun to partial shade and medium to wet soils
Hardiness: Cold hardy to USDA Zone 4
Origin: Eastern United States
Attributes: Deer resistant; Fall color; Rain garden
Native to streambanks, floodplains, and other moist areas of the eastern United States, the River Birch is notable for its distinctive exfoliating bark and ability to withstand higher temperatures, unlike other native birch species. Betula nigra was included in both Bartram’s Catalogue of American Trees, Shrubs, and Herbacious Plants (1783) and as a native tree “useful for fabrication” in Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia (1780s). The hard, strong, close-grained wood was once used for furniture-making and wooden objects such as ox yokes and hoops for rice casks.
This plant will ship bare root. Two year seedling is 3’ tall. zone4,zone5,zone6,zone7,zone8,zone9
Bare root planting tips:
- If you can't plant immediately, store your plant in a cool location and keep the roots moist or pot in a container with a nursery potting mix from your local garden center.
- Before planting, let the roots soak for several hours as you prepare the site. You'll want to dig a large enough hole so the root mass can spread out and the plant is at the same soil level as when it was growing in the nursery.
- Once planted, water it in well and wait a month before fertilizing. Mulching will help to maintain moisture and raise soil temperatures for faster growth.