The River Birch grows in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well drained, wet, wide range, clay soils.
The River Birch has become a popular landscape tree because of its distinctive bark and graceful crown. It also is said to be the Birch most resistant to borers, and can tolerate drier conditions than other Birches. Its small but plentiful seeds are appreciated by a wide range of songbirds.
The cinnamon-colored, exfoliating bark of the River Birch is spectacular in the winter. Lustrous, medium-green leaves. Most borer resistant birch. Tolerant of both wet soils and dry summers. Avoid very alkaline soils.
Prune only when dormant and not when sap is flowing. Grows to 40' to 70', 40'-60' spread. (zones 4-9)
The catkins of the River Birch are used by redpolls and pine siskins. The foliage is eaten by deer and other browsers.
The River Birch is one of the 12 Birch species that extend southward from the Arctic Circle. It is the only one that grows naturally at low elevations in the southeastern part of the United States. Mud is a natural bed for the seedlings and the tree is excellent for holding stream banks and thus helping to keep erosion in check.
While it will tolerate moderate flooding, it also has some drought resistance.
This trees leaves are 1-1/2 to 3 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide with tiny hairs on stem and the underside of a stout midrib.
Flowers are brown or green.
The flowers bloom in April to May..
The fruit is elongated, 1 to 3 inches long.