• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Betula nigra

river birch

  • Other common names river birch
    red birch

    black birch

    see more
  • Synonyms Betula rubra

  • Family Betulaceae

  • Genus Betula can be deciduous trees or shrubs, usually colouring well in autumn and often with striking white, pink, or peeling brown bark; separate male and female catkins open before or with the leaves in spring

  • Details B. nigra is a bushy deciduous tree to 15m or more, with peeling bark, at first reddish-brown, later almost black; glossy dark green leaves turn yellow in autumn

  • Plant range C & E USA

Characteristics

  • Foliage Deciduous

  • Habit Bushy

  • Hardiness

    Hardiness ratings

    All ratings refer to the UK growing conditions unless otherwise stated. Minimum temperature ranges (in degrees C) are shown in brackets

    • H1a - Under glass all year (>15C)
    • H1b - Can be grown outside in the summer (10 - 15)
    • H1c - Can be grown outside in the summer (5 - 10)
    • H2 - Tolerant of low temperatures, but not surviving being frozen (1 to 5)
    • H3 - Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK (-5 to 1)
    • H4 - Hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
    • H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10)
    • H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15)
    • H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20)

    H7

Colour

Sunlight

  • Full Sun

  • Partial Shade

  • Aspect South-facing or North-facing or West-facing or East-facing

  • Exposure Sheltered

Soil

  • Clay

    Clay

  • Chalk

    Chalk

  • Sand

    Sand

  • Loam

    Loam

  • MoistureMoist but well-drained, Well-drained

  • SoilClay, Chalk, Sand, Loam

  • pHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral

Size

  • Ultimate height Higher than 12 metres

  • Ultimate spread 4-8 metres

  • Time to ultimate height 20-50 years

How to grow

Cultivation Will grow in a wide range of situations

Propagation Propagate by softwood cuttings or grafting

Suggested planting locations and garden types Flower borders and beds Cottage & Informal Garden

How to care

Pruning Pruning group 1

Pests Sawflies, aphids and leaf- mining sawflies may be a problem

Diseases A rust and a leaf spot may be a problem

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