River Birch is a deciduous tree with widespread appeal. It was named the Urban Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists in 2002. While not as widely regarded as maples or oaks, the River Birch is growing in popularity due to its hardiness in most of the USDA Hardiness Zones (3
-9) and the fact that it grows rapidly into a shade tree for your landscape.
At maturity, the River Birch can grow upwards of 60 feet with the right combination of fertile, slightly acidic soil and at least 4-6 hours of sunlight. On average the birch tree grows 1 to 2 feet per year. It can take full to part sun, making it viable in a wide variety of locations in your yard that have room to accommodate its 20-50 foot canopy.
The peeling bark of the River Birch is a year-round point of interest. On young trees, the cinnamon-brown bark curls away to reveal a creamy to reddish-brown inner bark. As the tree matures, the bark becomes less showy and develops a thicker bark that appears grayish brown with darker brown spots. It takes a few years for the tree to become old enough to start exfoliating.
The leaves emerge each spring and retreat each fall. They are glossy green with a slight tooth and about 2-3″ long. This foliage is eaten by deer and other foliage grazing animals. It produces long tendrils of seeds in the spring, which songbirds love.
River Birch Tree Care
- Hardy from USDA Zones 3-9.
- Plant in Full Sun to Part Shade for best results.
- River Birch are tolerant of most soil types, even clay.
- Water 2-3 times per week after planting. This will help it to develop deep roots and allow it to support rapid growth.
- Fertilize new plantings in early spring with a balanced nitrogen-rich fertilizer to promote new growth.
How to Plant:
- Dig a hole three times the width of the root ball of your plant. This will make it easier for the roots to spread out.
- Mix your native soil with gardening soil to provide extra nutrients, this step isn’t 100% necessary, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
- Backfill the hole with the soil mixture and top with 3-4 inches of mulch to help retain moisture.
- Soak the plant with the hose afterward to hydrate the plant and help all of the soil and mulch get situated.
River Birch Tree Spacing Recommendations
River Birches do well when planted along driveways, planted in clusters to create more shade or can be used as feature plants. They need 20+ feet between plantings. These trees should be spaced to allow them to mature and show off their wonderful forms.
If your tree is over 46″ inches tall at the time of shipping, we will have to trim it to fit into our boxes.
Customers Outside of the Southeastern United States: Shipping these trees over long distances during the Summer is not recommended, please wait to order during Fall to Early Spring for best results.