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BETULA populifolia 'Whitespire Senior'

Image of Betula populifolia 'Whitespire Senior'

James H. Schutte

Family

Betulaceae

Botanical Name

BETULA populifolia 'Whitespire Senior'

Plant Common Name

Gray Birch, Whitespire Senior Grey Birch

General Description

This rugged, cold-hardy selection of gray birch is a lovely upstanding tree for home landscaping in cold climates. Its parent hails from the northeastern U.S. into Nova Scotia, inhabiting large tracts of forest, but preferring swamps, bogs, streams banks and other wetlands. A clone of the first tree with resistance to the bronze birch borer, 'Whitespire Senior' is therefore the best choice where this pest is a problem. Any selection of gray birch lacking the title "Senior" is not guaranteed to be a resistant clone. The upright trunk may branch, but it’s typically single, bearing the beautiful whitish bark with unique markings that makes the tree so striking in the winter. The leaves are long, serrated, and green, and hang gracefully on the finely-spotted dark twigs.

This tree flowers in the spring with long, slender catkins which appear before the leaves, creating a beautiful moment. At the end of the growing season, the leaves turn golden yellow. This tree is quite useful due to its shade tolerance. It can be grouped with needled evergreens so its white trunk stands out against their dark backdrop. In the wild it prefers to live in groves. In gardening, it is typically planted in groups so that the narrow canopies can better shade the root zone. It’s also a problem solver for wet grounds where less water-tolerant trees fail. However, beware of planting close to water or sewer lines as this is an avid moisture-seeker.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    6 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 6

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    15'-30' / 4.6m - 9.1m

  • Width

    15'-30' / 4.6m - 9.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water, Ample Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow

  • Bark Color

    White

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No