Noteworthy Characteristics. Birch trees are lovely, graceful trees with pale bark and bright, heart-shaped leaves. Over time the bark will show a whole host of colors, including orange, gray, lavender and salmon. Avoid pruning in spring when the sap is running. A problem solver for low lying sites to wet for many other species. Common Names: River birch. Birches are considered “bleeders”, avoid pruning in late spring before leaves emerge. The 3″ pendant male flowers are much more noticeable than the shorter, erect female catkins. As a single trunk tree, it develops a pyramidal habit when young, but matures to a more rounded shape typically growing 40-70' tall. Blooming Length: April to May. Water deeply, regularly in first few growing seasons to establish root system; once established tolerates mild drought, but reaches maximum growth in rich, fertile, evenly moist soils. Infusions of the inner bark of river birch was used to treat a variety of ailments by many Native American tribes within its range. Betula nigra, commonly called river birch, is a vigorous, fast-growing, medium-sized, Missouri native deciduous tree which occurs on floodplains, swampy bottomlands and along streams throughout the State.In cultivation, it can be trained as either a single trunk or multi-trunked tree. Leathery, diamond-shaped, medium to dark green leaves (1.5-3.5" long) with doubly toothed margins turn yellow in fall. - Narrow, pyramidal growth habit when young. Excellent tree for very large homesites, parks and open space. These trees can be grown either with a single trunk or multi-stemmed. Seldom requires pruning. River birch in bloom (L) with the male catkins most noticeable (R). Some trees may have naturalized in the wild from yards and gardens, but several populations in New England are native, and the species is listed as rare in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Betula nigra is an Iowa native. Birch are available as single trunk trees or those with multi-trunks as clumps. River Birch. © 2020 MONROVIA NURSERY COMPANY. Although river birches have some susceptibility to aphids, leaf miner and iron chlorosis in high pH soils, these problems are somewhat minor in comparison to the birch borer. It is fast growing and provides shade about as quickly as any tree can. They are in the genera Betula, which is the Latin word for “to shine,” and if you have a birch tree in your yard, you may agree that the tree seems to have a glow.How long do birch trees live? Beautiful large tree as focal point or shading. River birch is monoecious (separate male and female flowers on the same plant) with flowers arranged in catkins. Multi-trunked trees form a more irregular crown and are generally considered to be the superior growth habit for this species. River birch is a fast-growing, deciduous semi-aquatic tree that reaches between 50 and 90 feet in height. Betula nigra, commonly called river birch, is a vigorous, fast-growing, medium-sized, Missouri native deciduous tree which occurs on floodplains, swampy bottomlands and along streams throughout the State.In cultivation, it can be trained as either a single trunk or multi-trunked tree. River birch are prized trees in Midwest gardens for their four season interest and aesthetics. Hardy in United States Department of Agriculture zones 4 to 9, river birch is the most widely distributed and adapted birch tree in the states. Height: 40' Spread: 30-40' Space: 30-40' Growth Rate: Fast. Quickly reaches 40 to 60 ft. tall and wide; 70 ft. tall in ideal conditions. Deciduous. About Heritage River Birch Clump. Bloom Time/Color: April-May; brown/green Fall Color: Yellow Uses: Specimen, shade tree, rain gardens Maintenance: Low Tree Shape: Pyramidal, round Other: Bronze birch borer resistant, deer resistant. They have cinnamon-colored bark that peels from the trunk. 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