River Birch

BETULA ALBA – River Birch

The River Birch tree is popular deciduous ornamental tree and has a rich cultural history. 


[Elementary School students]

Did you know?

Do birds like to eat any part of the tree?

The catkins (flower clusters) of the River Birch are eaten and appreciated by a wide range of songbirds.

https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?ItemID=792

Deer like to eat what part of the tree?

The foliage (leaves) are eaten by deer and other browsers.

https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?ItemID=792

Long ago farmers used what parts of the tree?

River birch wood was once used for ox yokes, wooden shoes and other items around the farm.

https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?ItemID=792

Leaf: Green Summer

http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=13


[Middle School students]

Habitat (where it likes to live) http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=x800

Grows in medium to wet soils
Can be grown in partial shade to full sun environments
Tolerates hot and dry conditions
Location: Eastern United States  (Zone 4 to 9)

http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=13

Requirements (what it needs to live)

Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low

Identification (what it looks like) http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=x800

Readily identified in the winter because of its bright exfoliating (shedding) bark

Flower – Fruiting catkins

Trunk – Single stem or clump (multi-stem) forms


[High School students]

Habit (how it grows)

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=x800

Height: 40 to 70 feet
Spread: 40 to 60 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Tolerate: Wet and dry soils

Bark

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=x800

Catkins

https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?ItemID=792

http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=13

http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard%2Dgarden/trees%2Dshrubs/river-birch/index.html

Suggested Use (where to plant it in the garden and landscape):

Private residences – For four season use on a home-owners property
Rain Gardens – To look good and help shade other plants
Parks – Seth Hand Park


References:

  1. VA Tech - dendro.cnre.vt.edu
  2. Missouri Botanic Garden – missouribotanicgarden.org
  3. Arbor Day – arborday.org
  4. University of Minnesota Extension
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