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BETULA nigra 'Summer Cascade'

Image of Betula nigra 'Summer Cascade'

Russell Stafford

Family

Betulaceae

Botanical Name

BETULA nigra 'Summer Cascade'

Plant Common Name

Black Birch, River Birch, Summer Cascade River Birch

General Description

A selection of river birch, ‘Summer Cascade’ is a pendulous, fast growing, deciduous tree selected from a species native to the central United States. Its most notable ornamental feature is its beautiful flaking, peeling bark that mingles many shades of tan, rust-orange and brown. Like other birches, it has elongated catkins that appear in spring, and its dark green leaves turn bright yellow in the fall. One problem with river birch is its tendency to drop many fine branches, especially after storms. Some gardeners deem it messy.

While 'Summer Cascade' is a weeping selection, it is often staked to form a single upright trunk with a weeping canopy. It may also be left unstaked to form a cascading mound. Grow it in full sun to partial shade on well-drained, moist soil. It is perfect for wet sites but can tolerate locations with drier soils. Its small size and graceful appearance makes it useful in a foundation planting or mixed border. 'Summer Cascade' is more tolerant of heat than other birches and is resistant to the borers that plague other species.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    20'-25' / 6.1m - 7.6m

  • Width

    10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, Central United States, South-Central United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site, Pollution, Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Brown

  • Fruit Color

    Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Light Yellow, Tan

  • Bark Color

    White, Copper, Tan, Sandy Brown, Ivory, Slate Gray

  • Bark Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No