Alternately called Black Birch or Water Birch, it is a lovely tree typically reaching heights of 50′ (exceptionally up to 90′) with an irregular, spreading crown around 30 feet. Known for its gorgeous peeling bark this birch adds ornamental interest year-round. It has the highest resistance to Bronze Birch Borer (BBB) than its compadres. River birch makes a great centerpiece, but be sure to allow it room to spread. River birch, much like the name suggests, likes wet-moist soils of any type so long as the pH is not alkaline.
As the most heat-tolerant birch native to this continent, it will have an advantage other birches do not as the climate destabilizes and shifts irretrievably. In spite of its propensity to do well in the heat, during dry, hot years it will shed its interior leaves to reduce water loss through transpiration. However, if the stressful conditions continue the tree will wither away and die. Supplemental irrigation may be needed if signs of stress emerge. It attracts countless birds at different times of the year as well as hosting some of our favorite bugs. This beauty can tolerate partial shade, but autumnal color is greatly increased with full sun. When pruning it is best to do it when the sap isn’t running. If the sap is moving don’t prune it, tap it! The sap flows at 3x the rate of sugar maple so be prepared for bathtubs full of birch water.