River Birch (Betula nigra)
The river birch is a medium-sized shade tree with a very special ornamental attribute: its peeling bark! The rough, papery, peeling bark of the river birch is beloved by gardeners and landscapers alike. In winter, when the tree is dormant and defoliated, it provides incredible interest with that attractive bark.
River Birch tolerates standing water, clay, and even drought once established. The leaves fluttering in summer breezes can make you feel cooler even when its hot. It is a fast growing tree that reaches 50 feet or more in a relatively short time. It’s multiple trunks add to its charm.
Plant in full sun to part sun. Don’t worry if it sheds some leaves mid -summer. It is no happier with summer heat than the rest of us. Many insects use the River Birch for food and lodging. River Birch seeds are larger than many other Birch seeds. Pine Siskin, White-Winged Crossbill, Purple Finch, and Black-Capped Chickadee are some of the birds that depend on these seeds for nourishment.