River Birch

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River Birch is a deciduous tree, which is also known as the Water Birch. This is a species of birch that originated from the eastern parts of the United States from west New Hampshire to south Minnesota. It has since spread south to Florida and Texas. It is one of the common trees found in swamps and flood plains.

Appearance

These trees can grow to heights of twenty five meters, and very rarely, thirty meters. The trunks can be quite impressively large, with diameters of fifty centimetres, or very rarely, one hundred and fifty centimetres. It often has multiple trunks. The River Birch has a bark that varies in colour from pinkish brown to dark grey-brown, and can vary from being scaly, flaky or smooth. The twigs are thin and hairy and give no odour when scraped. It has broad, alternate leaves.

Flowers and fruits

The flowers of this tree are catkins that are wind-pollinated. The male catkins are pendulous while the female ones stay straight. The fruit is cone-like and has many hairy scales. It is reddish brown and has several small, three-winged seeds. These seeds ripen and the split open in the fall. This fruit is rather unusual when it comes to birches as it matures in late spring.

Cultivation

The native habitat of the River Birch is wet ground, but it can still grow on higher land. Its bark is very distinctive, so that it is a favourite ornamental tree for landscapers. Many cultivars, such as �Heritage� and �Dura Heat� have a much lighter bark than the regular wild type or tree, and these are used for garden planting. These cultivars are notable because they are the only white-barked birches that are resistant to the birch borer that is found in warmer areas of south-eastern America.

Popularity

These trees are loved due to their papery, cinnamon-coloured bark and their poised crown. The distinctive bark acts as visual interest all throughout the year. When fall is nearing, the leaves of the tree turn an attractive bright yellow.

Many people find that this beautiful tree is ideal for their gardens and back yards, and many parks and campuses make use of it as well. It is incredibly popular for landscaping projects as well because it has a very slender, graceful shape and unique, eye-catching bark. It is so well-used by professional landscapers that it is constantly in short supply.

Because the River Birch is extremely low maintenance, and can withstand extremely harsh weather conditions, it is truly a �plant it and forget it� tree. It can adapt to practically any soil and any climate, so years from now you need not worry about a cold, rainy season or a freak drought harming your tree as it can take care of itself.

Care Tips

The River Birch is susceptible to the birch leaf miner, but most attacks are generally not severe enough to do any real harm to the tree. It can be grown on all types of soil whether wet or dry, but it prefers wet soil. The only thing it is sensitive to is alkaline soils, so avoid soils that have a pH over 6.5.

Gardening Articles: http://organicgardenarticles.com/

Author: Tammy Sons
www.tennesseewholesalenursery.com

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