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BETULA populifolia

Image of Betula populifolia

James H. Schutte

Family

Betulaceae

Botanical Name

BETULA populifolia

Plant Common Name

Gray Birch

General Description

This rugged, cold hardy, short-lived birch from northeastern North America is useful for naturalistic plantings in its native region. Typically multi-trunked, it has gray-white, flaky bark peppered with black markings. The twiggy branches are purplish-brown. The narrowly triangular, bright green leaves are often marred by leaf miners. The foliage turns yellow in fall. Caterpillar-like, yellow-green flower catkins appear in fall, persist through winter, and lengthen in spring, providing ornament during the dormant season.

This adaptable, sun-loving tree succeeds in most acidic to neutral soils. Its susceptibility to leaf miners, borers, and winter storm damage makes it a poor choice as a featured specimen. Use it for informal plantings in soils that are too barren and dry or too damp for most other trees.

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

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average 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, Gray

  • 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

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes