Plant Pick: River Birch

  • Wed Jul 7th, 2010 10:26pm
  • Life

WHAT: This river birch, known as betula nigra Cully Heritage, is a fabulous accent tree for the garden, thanks its peeling, multicolored bark.

WHY PLANT IT: It has 3-inch glossy dark green leaves that turn a creamy yellow in the fall. In the spring, it also produces 3-inch catkins.

Its bark colors range from lighter creams and salmons to orange-reds and cinnamon-browns, especially highlighted in winter, making it a true four-season tree.

It is often sold with two to five trunks to accentuate its bark.

WHERE: It grows best in a moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. It will tolerate drier soils once established, but also tolerates wet soils.

HOW: It combines well with ornamental grasses such as hakonechloa and can be underplanted with low-growing rhododendrons.

Pruning is not necessary except for the removal of crossing or dying branches.

It is more resistant to bronze birch borer than the species variety and is fairly resistant to aphids.

ACTUAL SIZE: It is a large, deciduous, pyramidal, upright, fast-growing tree that reaches 60 feet tall and 40 feet wide at maturity.

LEARN MORE: See www.great plantpicks.org.

Source: Great Plant Picks