Boone County Arboretum
9190 Camp Ernst Road
Union, Kentucky 41091
Phone: (859) 384-4999
Fax: (859) 384-6888

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Cultural Details for Betula nigra

Common Name:
River Birch, Red Birch

Growth Rate:
24" or more per year

Average Mature Height:
40-70' may reach 90'

Average Mature Width:

Flower Details:
Male catkins are drooping and brown, 2-3" long. Female catkins are smaller, insignificant, upright, and greenish. Both appear in spring on the same tree.

Fruit Details:
Small nutlet, in a 1-1.5" pendulous catkin, ripens and sheds seed in spring.

Fall Color:
yellow then soon dropping.

Bark Details:
Exfoliating into papery sheets, exposing the inner bark which is gray-brown, salmon-brown, cinnamon-brown to reddish brown.

Disease / Insect Problems or Resistance:
Probably the most trouble-free birch, but can get leaf spot. Is bronze birch borer resistant.

Native Habitat:
Massachusetts to Florida west to Minnesota and Kansas; restricted to stream banks and other moist places.

Other Features:
Specimen tree for estates, parks, golf courses, and other large areas. Handsome for bark character.

Culture and Care:
Transplants well, best adapted to moist soils. Prefers an acid soil (6.5 or below) for chlorosis will develop in high pH situations.

This plant was blooming:
4/5/2010 - 4/7/2010
4/8/2005 - 5/6/2005

Plantings of this cultivar at Boone County Arboretum:
2120, 2130, 3640, 3650, 3660

    The information on this page may have come from one or more of the following sources:
  • Dirr, Michael. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. Stipes Publishing. 1998.
  • Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America. John Wiley & Sons. 1988.
  • North Carolina Extension Plant Fact Sheets.
  • University of Connecticut Plant Database.