We all recognize the birch tree for its showy, white come gray peeling barks. They space staples in moist woodlands and also are many likely found in colder climates. Yet when they are planted in landscapes, castle offer more than simply shade because they room true showstoppers. If you space considering having birch trees in her home, you must first know the best varieties that you should consider.

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This article features several of the many notable birch tree species out there. It also lists some useful information the you have the right to refer to after. So, if you are in for every little thing birch tree, review on.

In this article:

Birch tree identificationTypes the birch trees

Birch tree facts

There is much more to birch tree aside from your showy barks. Right here are some amazing facts around birches the you should know about.

There are approximately 60 species of birch trees spread in virtually all pleasant climates roughly the world.It does not endure in dry climates because it has actually a shallow source system.It is well-known for that longevity. ~ above average, birch tree live because that 50 years yet some species could live up to 200 year or more.The pollens released by the birch tree is considered as the reason behind 20% of the total instances of hay fever in the northern hemisphere.There space 11 types of birch trees that are provided as endangered species by the IUCN in 2011.Birch trees are far-ranging to aboriginal American society and tradition as a source of food, log, and also materials to develop traditional huts and also canoes.The oldest proof of birch tree barks being provided as paper or together writing tablet computers trace earlier to the an initial century.Birch saps are used in China, Russia, and also northern Europe to do birch syrups i m sorry are supplied like maple syrups. They are likewise used in make cosmetics, soaps, and shampoos.

Birch tree symbolism

Being one of the earliest tree varieties in the world method that the is also widely referenced in historical and also biblical texts. As such, the birch tree is surrounded v myths, individual stories, and also symbolisms. Below are some of the many notable symbolisms the the birch tree.

It is provided in indigenous American society as the facility pole of their structures since the birch tree is a prize of fruitful beginnings. Other than this, it also represents home, shelter, and also important gatherings.Among the Celts, the birch tree is a prize of stability and also renewal. It also represents adaptability since the tree deserve to survive harsh cold climates. It is the center allude of the Beltane Festival.It is additionally called the ‘Lady of the Woods’ in Celtic folklore and also is highly associated through feminine energies including fertility and nurturance. The is associated with fertility goddesses such together Frigga and also Freya that the vikings mythology, Eostre that the Anglo-Saxon tradition and also Venus of roman mythology.In Siberia, the birch is a spiritual tree and also is believed to it is in the ladder the connects heaven and also earth.For the Chinese, birch tree represent rejuvenation and connection.It is the state tree of brand-new Hampshire and the nationwide tree that Finland, Russia, and also Sweden.

Birch tree identification

The birch tree is most identifiable v its bark however here room some other features that you have to look the end for suitable birch tree identification.


Birch tree leaves are either triangular or heart shaped. The leaves additionally have carefully serrated margins, along with pointed tips and also a round base. They are arranged in an alternating fashion and turn right into yellow, orange, or red throughout fall.

Some distinct distinctions show depending upon the form of birch tree. Because that example, gray birches have actually triangular shaped leaves while river birches room diamond shaped. White birches top top the various other hand, have more prominent serrations.


Birch tree barks are mainly white or gray yet there are also bronze, brown, silver, and also brown birch barks. Birch tree barks additionally have smooth barks of papery texture, skin into more papery layers with horizontal streaks dubbed lenticels. Their peeling habit proves together showstoppers in winter gardens.


Both male and female birch trees develop catkins in one of two people summer or fall. These small flowers bloom at the very same time the sheet of the birch tree appears. Flowers from masculine birches space 2cm longer than female catkins.

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Types the birch trees

There are at the very least 60 provided types of birch tree distributed in the northern hemisphere. Of these 60, the following would it is in the many popular types as castle are supplied in landscaping and also contributions in the lumber and woodworks industry, and wildlife conservation.

1. Bog Birch (Betula pumila)


This one is likewise called the swamp birch due to the fact that it thrives well along streams, bogs, and swamps. It grows to as much as 13ft, grow in clumps through woody stems and branches and also coral-like leaves that rotate reddish-orange in the fall. The tolerates acidic and alkaline soils and is the perfect addition to any kind of rain gardens.

2. Cherry Birch or sweet birch (Betula lenta)



Also dubbed as the summer sprouts birch or the black birch, this one is sought-after due to the fact that of its shade, its wood that darkens into a mahogany-like lumber and being the resource of wintergreen oil. It grow to up to 70ft offering a the shade cover that at the very least 40ft. It is identifiable because that its shiny red-brown bark through scales like the cherry tree.

It grow from a solitary trunk, has actually ovate lime green leaves, and produces white flowers in the summer and also followed by small berries in the fall. The is an illness resistant and also attracts wildlife for its fruits and also butterflies because that pollination. The sap is also used to make birch beer.

3. Chinese Red Birch (Betula Albosinensis)


This one is distinctive for that red-brown papery bark i beg your pardon peels into an ext papery layers with white horizontal strips. The pipeline are also striking for its matte texture, and yellow green color that goes complete bright yellow during fall. The is native to western China however has get an impressive scarce with the years. The is drought tolerant, will a elevation of 50ft and also a spread of 30ft.

4. Downy Birch or white birch tree (Betula Pubescens)


The downy birch thrives in very cold climates, growing wild in western Europe, Russia and in Iceland. It grow to 60ft with a spread of 40ft. That is a an extremely useful tree in its aboriginal ranges. That bronze-brown bark is turned right into flour to make traditional delicacies.

The bark is also dried and made into tea due to the fact that it is a herbal diuretic and also an anti-inflammatory remedy. It is likewise important in carpentry and cabinetry. It gets its surname from that is fuzzy hair-like overgrowth.

5. Dwarf Birch (Betula nana)


This one is rarely planted in landscapes since it only thrives in really cold weather. It is additionally called the arctic birch since it is vital ground cover for cold climate vegetation.

It grow in in between 6inches come 3ft and also thrives in rocky, acidic, and also nutrient deficient soils. It is very woody, v branches expanding out through clusters the dark eco-friendly leaves that are curved in ~ the edges.

6. Erman’s Birch (Betula ermanii)


This birch grow in many trunks and also is distinct for the copper brown bark which peels into layers that tan and also cream tones. It grows to approximately 70ft, has a conical shape as soon as it will maturity, and a dense foliage written of heart-shaped leaves.

The leaves room deep green most seasons however turn yellow throughout fall. It is commonly used in urban parks because of its shade cover. It can also be planted in house landscapes with vast garden areas.

7. Gray Birch (Betula Populifolia)


This one is more of an oversized shrub than a tree. It gets its surname from that grayish-white bark with dark brown dents. They flourish in moist soils and also grow in lot of trunks.

It has actually ovate, deep green and also airy pipeline that are curved in ~ the edges. Because it only grows come a maximum elevation of 20ft, the is often used in house landscapes. It can additionally be conditioned to grow smaller to it is in planted in much more compact yards.

8. Himalayan Birch (Betula utilis var. Jacquemontii)


This one has actually a high ornamental value due to the fact that of its striking appearance. It has remarkable white barks v a papery texture, yellow or environment-friendly flowers throughout spring, v the signature ovate pipeline with finely serrated edge of birch trees.

It grow from a solitary trunk into a tool size tree. That thrives far better in cooler temperatures. The can thrive to approximately 50ft and is aboriginal to the West Himalayas.

9. Japanese White Birch (Betula platyphylla ‘Japanica’)


Also called the oriental white birch, the is well-known for that slender, white bark, dark scales, long, woody branches and also lots the drooping branchlets. It grow in between 40-50ft and prefers wet, sandy or rocky soils.

This one is a beautiful see specimen tree in north regions whereby the climate is an extremely cool. While that could likewise survive in warmer climates, planting this birch there would certainly make it vulnerable to borer’s disease.

10. Paper Bark Birch (Betula papyrifera)

This one is indigenous to the northern US and in Canada. It gets its surname from its file thin, white bark i m sorry peels into paper-like layers. That produces yellow flowers in the fall and can thrive from a solitary trunk or in clumps. It grows in between 45-100ft.

It is also named as the canoe birch as it was used generally by indigenous Americans in structure canoes. Its catkins at the same time are a stable supply that food for wildlife. This one is birch bronze borer resistant.

11. River Birch (Betula nigra)

This fast-growing birch has become a famous landscape tree. That can thrive in a clumping kind or indigenous a single trunk. That bark is noteworthy for that is reddish- brown bark the reveals salmon pink layers as soon as it exfoliates.

Its ovate leaves room dark green most days but turn butter yellow in the fall. It is among the few heat and drought tolerant birches, cultivation in in between 40-70ft and also is resistant to copper borers.

12. Silver Birch (Betula pendula or B. Verrucosa)

This birch is distinct for its cultivation habit that starts as pyramidal and then rounded in ~ maturity. It grows from a solitary trunk, v white bark and dark gray marks. The bark peels into paper-like layers. Depending upon its cultivar, the can thrive in between 40-80ft. That thrives fine in cooler climates.

It would certainly not last lengthy in warmer temperatures. It has actually lost its popularity together a landscape tree due to the fact that of that vulnerability to copper birch borer.

13. Water Birch (Betula occidentalis or Betula fontinalis)

As the name suggests, this birch thrives in streambanks especially in mountainous locations where they thrive in special clusters. It is additionally distinguishable because that its reasonably smooth bark with a cocoa brown color.

The bark does not peel but it has white dents all over. It grow in in between 25-50ft and is far-reaching as lodge material and a source of food for the north American beaver.

14. Weeping Birches (Betula pendula var.)

This one it s okay its surname from that is pendulous expansion habit. The branches droop down however overall kind a pyramidal form. It has a thick foliage composed of heart-shaped leaves.

It is a great focal allude in any landscape because of the mighty form, decorative catkins, and a gold yellow shade during fall. It has a white bark and dark gray to black color trunks and also branches. Depending upon the cultivar, it grow in between 40-70ft.

15. Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis)

This one is thought about as the birch with the longest lifespan as it could live for 150-300 years. It gets its name from that smooth yellow to bronzy yellow bark i beg your pardon peels in horizontal strips. It grows from a solitary trunk. The sap can be tapped to create beverages the taste favor root beer.

It is also detailed as among the most crucial trees because that lumber manufacturing in north America and also a significant source that food and also habitat for wildlife. The grows between 40-80ft.

Where perform birch tree grow?

Birch tree are indigenous to northern, chillier climates. Lock are renowned winter landscapes in rural communities in the northern hemisphere since it cannot tolerate heat and also dry conditions. It also does not fare fine in publicly locations. That thrives in moist, acidic come alkaline soils. It basically grows in hardiness area of 2-6.

How come grow and also care because that birch trees

Regardless that the form of birch tree, all species are covered by general care and propagating tips. Right here are the basic growing and caring needs for birch trees.

Light: Birch trees prosper with full sun to dappled light in chillier climates. If planted as border tree in landscapes, it have to be put in one area wherein taller trees could provide shade to it or alone in a extremely shaded component of the garden.Soil: these trees choose cool and moist soils. Castle could additionally tolerate moist rocky, sandy, and loam soils. The loves acidic soils, but it could also thrive in contempt alkaline soils. Mulching it v shredded bark or leaves and wood chips are the best options for birch trees.Water: If you space in a ar where her birch tree could complete with various other plants because that water, it could require regular watering. If planted along natural habitat arrays such as streams, riverbanks, bogs, or ponds, watering should be done when every three weeks.Temperature and also humidity: As have been stated several times, birch trees love cool climates whereby winters are long, and summers are still cooler 보다 tropical to subtropical climates. That does not tolerate heat and also drought back some species do.Fertilizer: You have to fertilize birch trees due to the fact that if not, they could be more susceptible to bronze birch borers. Because that this, you need to purchase a slow-release granular fertilizer. Apply this in ~ a class of mulch during spring.Pruning: This tree does no require consistent pruning together it retains its form as lengthy as it is in the right environment. But if you desire occasional pruning, do not perform so in between winter and spring or else you will be handling messy sap almost everywhere the trunk.

Birch trees pests and diseases

This tree, like other trees, can also be susceptible to miscellaneous pests and also diseases. So, to know which ones to protect against through ideal maintenance and also to look the end for come make at an early stage interventions, these are birch tree pests and diseases that must be checked.

Bronze birch borer: This is possibly the many lethal problem for birch trees. Boring beetles directly strike the trunk and weakens the tree by interrupting sap flow. Birch borer condition is shown by a thinning crown or wounds all over the trunk.Birch leafminer: This one is the result burrowing leaf miner insects which niche within the tribe of birch trees to move nutrients off. It is often indicated through the green spots found in the leaves of the trees. As soon as the point out turn right into brown splotches, interventions could be critical. It would not death the tree, however it will surely disfigure it and also weaken the tree.

Other diseases and pests that threaten birch trees would be the following:

European or common aphidsScorchHeart rotsCankers

How long do birch trees live?

The average lifespan that birch trees would certainly be 40 years. However of course, there are noteworthy birch tree types that live for hundreds of years. For example, record birch big to up to 70 years while sweet birch might live for as much as 250 years. The yellow birch top top the various other hand, might have a expectancy of 150-300 years.

Why do birch trees have black streaks on your trunk?

The black streaks in the tribe of birch trees are called lenticels and they are there for critical reason. Birch trees photosynthesize v their barks and also the black color streaks allow gas exchange between the air and the birch tree.

The variety of lenticels in a birch tree is one indicator of their growth rate. This way that the an ext lenticels found in birch tree bark, the an ext it is mature and the higher its development rate.

Which birch tree has the whitest bark?

The Himalayan birch has the whitest bark of every birch trees. Unlike various other birch trees, the white color of the bark walk not readjust even once it has already accomplished maturity. It has good ornamental value particularly as the focal suggest of winter landscapes.

Birch tree vs Aspen Trees

These 2 trees are often perplexed with each other because they both have actually light fancy barks, and also their leaves both revolve yellow in the fall. As well as these, over there are various other differences in between birches and also aspens.

BarkTurns lighter and also peels in maturity.Turns rough and does not peel.
LeavesOvate and serrated by the edges.Round and with finer tooth in the margins.
HeightAverage elevation is 40-50ft.Average elevation is 20-80ft.
Root systemShallowDeep and also aggressive
Climate (Hardiness Zone)2-62-8
RegenerationRegenerates from sprouts in roots and trunks.Regenerates from sprouts discovered in the roots.

Where come buy birch trees?

Except for some varieties such together the Chinese red birch, you deserve to buy birch tree from your neighborhood nurseries. Online, girlfriend should find birch trees because that sale ~ above the following sites:

Nature HillsThe Tree CenterMcKay NurseryArbor DayWilson Bros GardensBower and also BranchCold currently FarmBark CanoeTree Plantation


Birch trees are beautiful landscape trees that are difficult to miss out on in any garden due to the fact that of your signature peeling, pale fancy barks. They space loved for their shade capacity, appearance, and also longevity. The is rather low maintenance if planted in the best soil and within the right climate and also temperature.

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The tree additionally has an amazing symbolic profile in plenty of countries in the north hemisphere. Aside from this, it additionally significantly contributes come woodwork and also lumber industries, in the conservation of cultural traditions through delicacies, in making syrups, and in wildlife conservation. With all points considered, birch tree are several of the best trees to select for your residence landscape.

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