Betula nigra

river birch

Outstanding Qualities

River birch stands out for its beautiful peeling multicolored bark which ranges in colors from cream and salmon to orange-red and cinnamon-brown. The trunks are covered with layers of small peeling curls that are especially noticeable in winter. It is a fast growing, upright, deciduous pyramidal tree, and is spectacular grown in groups to further accentuate the bark.

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’, Cotinus ‘Grace’, Corylopsis spicata ‘Golden Spring’, Malus transitoria ‘Schmidtcutleaf’ GOLDEN RAINDROPS™, Leycesteria formosa

Great Color Contrasts: pink, purple, burgundy

Great Color Partners: brown, bronze, cream

Culture Notes

This birch grows best in full sun to light shade and can adapt to a wide variety of soils, from well-drained to wet locations. It will also tolerate sandy sites or clay soils. Once established it is drought tolerant. Lower branches can be removed when they are small to show off the beautiful trunk, but in general it requires little more than the removal of dead, broken or poorly formed limbs. Provide plenty of space to fully enjoy the beautiful trunk and the graceful and delicate branching.

© J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: pyramidal tree

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 15 ft. 0 in. (4.57 m.)

Plant Width/Spread: 15 ft. 0 in. (4.57 m.)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 9

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun or light shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant when established