Betula nigra (River birch)
Position: Full sun to part shade. Will stand some exposure
Soil: Any moist but well drained soil, acid or alkaline
Rate of growth: Around 20- 30cm per year
Height: Can grow to around 18m tall without pruning.
Spread: Spreads to around 10m across without pruning.
Flowers: Male brownish-yellow catkins 12 long; female catkins shorter
Fruit: Yellow brown cylinder shaped fruiting (female) catkin
|We are big fans of this remarkable tree: Betula nigra (River birch) really is a most impressive plant when mature and we think the best way to show off its features is to buy a multi-stem specimen. Its most obvious appeal is the peeling, in time shaggy bark on its trunk and main stems, reaching up into the canopy. With young trees, bark is pale creamy-grey; as it peels, orange, copper and pink tints develop, the papery bark hanging in sheets. With older trees, colours intensify with darker browns and greys, but at all stages the bark colour and texture is superb, especially seen in winter. Betula nigra forms a light canopy with quite pendulous branches; in autumn the leaves turn yellow before falling. It is also surprisingly versatile, standing periods of waterlogging when established and tolerating high summer temperatures well.