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Betula nigra

Betula nigra

Common name river birch
Family betulaceae
Life cycle tree (Z4-9)
Flowers insignificant
Size 40-70'
Light sun-part shade
Cultural notes normal to moist soil

I think this is river birch, but will have to check some of the identifying characteristics when leaves emerges and it flowers in spring. Right now, I have only the bark to go by. We bought this several years ago as a largish tree, to supplement the two shade trees that were already in the front yard. Multi-stemmed, twiggy tree, quite nice in all seasons.

river birch
Contrasted against freshly fallen snow, the bark doesn't look nearly as white
Betula nigra
Finely cut new foliage
river birch

Recently, we purchased a second river birch, to plant alongside our newly constructed waterfall: 'Fox Valley', a dwarf variety growing to only 8-10'. Its primary claim to fame is the resistance to birch borers, the pest insect responsible for many premature birch deaths. The photo at right shows the young specimen, the photos below the late-May leaves and juvenile bark patterns.

Betula nigra
river birch
Betula nigra
'Fox Valley' a few years later

We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.

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