The river birch, or Betula nigra, is native to the Eastern United States, and is grown in medium to wet soils. The river birch is in the family Betulaceae, which is the birch family. It is native to zones 4-9, and prefers sun to part shade. As for its habit, the river birch grows about 40-70 feet tall, and 40-60 feet wide. It can be trained to be a single or multi-stemmed tree, and has salmon pink to reddish brown exfoliating bark. Its bark gives the tree great winter interest. Betula nigra is a low maintenance tree, is heat tolerant, and prefers moist, acidic soils. Its leaves are diamond shaped and leathery with doubly toothed margins. They are medium to dark green in the spring and summer, and turn a beautiful yellow in fall.
By Sidra Isenberg, Chapel Intern