Wednesday, July 16, 2008

River Birch

I have two river birch trees - Betula nigra - in my gardens. Nothing special about them other than I love the nice airy canopy they provide. I love the peely bark and the variation in color on the trunk. I also love the nicely shaped leaves that look like they are fluttering, even when there is very little wind.

In the forest, birch trees thrive on cool, moist soils. Their very shallow root system makes them sensitive to even short periods of drought or heating of the soil, thus they grow poorly on hot, dry soils. One of my trees is near the back corner of the house to help catch rain run-off from the roof and the other is at the bottom of our yard which is downhill from the house in an area that receives lots of water.

River birch trees are hardy to zone 4.


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Molly Day said...

In northern California, where we used to live, the River Birch were planted at every new home by developers.

Always in groups of 3.

Always appealing with that bark.

I don't think I've seen any here in northeast Oklahoma and wonder what their growing range is.

angie said...

Wow. You are one busy blogger. I wasn't sure which blog to visit first! :)

Thank you so much for taking the time to pop over, browse around and comment on my post. I look forward to returning and looking around. :)

ib mommy said...

I have a betula nigra right beside my driveway with which I have a love/hate relationship. It is huge and provides lots of shade from the scorching summer sun and I love the way the leaves rustle and sway in the wind. I HATE the way it self prunes itself and drops little branches all over the front yard and it weeps sap all over my car. One year it got infested with sawfly larvae and while they are interesting creatures the are gross:)

Bobbi said...

Sorry, ib mommy! This tree does need an enormous amount of water or it will drop leaves and branches. But if it is content with its planting location you won't have these problems.

Yours may not be getting enough moisture, especially if it's near the driveway. I have to be careful of what I plant in my driveway garden because this area is usually very dry and very hot!