The River Birch tree is native to the United States. It is fast growing, adding two to three feet each year. It can reach heights of 80 feet with a spreading canopy of 40-60 feet. Its growth rate is 1-1/2 to three feet per year.
Prized as a shade and ornamental tree, the River Birch has a glossy green diamond-shaped leaf. The leaves are simple, alternate on stems, with double-toothed margins. The top of the leaf is dark green and its underside, pale yellow. The leaves turn a sun-kissed yellow in the fall.
In mid to late summer, reddish brown male catkins grow in hanging clusters These will open; yielding tiny nutlets in May to June. Female flowers stand upright on the same branch as the males.
Another feature of the River Birch is its flaky, cinnamon-colored bark that curls and peels, adding its own touch of unique River Birch color.
River Birch trees prefer full sunlight or partial shade. They should be planted in moist, acidic and loamy, clay or sandy soil that is well-drained. Hardiness Zone: 4-9.