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Betula alleghaniensis #3 (Yellow Birch)
-Part Sun, Full Sun
-Moist, Cool Soil (FAC)
-Mildly Acidic to Neutral pH
-60′-75′ Tall by 20-30′ Wide
-Pyramidal to Rounded Deciduous Tree
-Showy Yellow Catkins in April, May
-Black Walnut tolerant
-Moderate Salt tolerance
Out of stock
Yellow Birch is the largest birch in North America. In the wild, it has been recorded growing 100′ tall with a wide, rounded crown and spreading branches. More typically and especially under cultivation, the mature size is between 60-75′. Trees that are grown in wooded situations tend to stay tall and narrow to pyramidal. The root system is fibrous and spreading and they prefer cool, moist soils with a slightly acidic pH. They are not at their best in hot and dry situations, which lead to stress and a number of pest and disease issues. The Bronze Birch Borer (Agrilus anxius) can especially be a problem if the trees are not well sited.
In late spring, Yellow Birches begin blooming with showy, rusty yellow catkins which droop from the wintergreen-scented branches. The flowers are wind-pollinated. Buds, catkins, and seeds are eaten by many species of bird including Black-Capped Chickadee, Purple Finch, and Slate-Colored Junco, as well as Red Squirrels. Betula spp. are host to at least 284 species of Lepidoptera, providing a massive buffet of caterpillars for insectivorous birds and nestlings. Because of this, the ecological value of Birches is very high.
The pleasant peeling, bronzy bark of Yellow Birch adds a high degree of interest to the winter landscape. The fall color is spectacularly golden-yellow and glowing. A grove of Yellow Birch in autumn is quite a sight and an excellent way to introduce this species to a larger landscape. It would also make for a lovely specimen or shade tree.
Native Trees, Shrubs, & Vines by William Cullina
Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by Michael A. Dirr
Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees by Charlotte Adelman & Bernard L. Schwartz
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Mature Bark: Canudo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons