River birch (Betula nigra) is a fast-growing, shade tree native to the Mississippi River flood plain in southeastern Minnesota.It is popular for its ornamental peeling bark. Step 8 The tree may host other pests, such as aphids, beetle borers and anthracnose, but they have little effect on the tree's overall health. Its weak branches fall in storms. Birch trees like cool and moist soil. In 2002, one of its cultivars was even named the Urban Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists. River birch- Starting off with the absolute worst first, River birch trees in Stone Mountain are the absolute most invasive roots because they are the most water seeking. It is primarily found east of the Mississippi River. The tree’s aggressive roots seek water, prying open cracks or joints in sewer or irrigation systems. Birch trees require acidic, loamy soil that stays consistently moist to stay healthy. Plus, River Birches tolerate soggy conditions where other trees won’t grow. In addition to locating birches well away from water and irrigation systems, a thick mulch over the root area will conserve moisture and shade the shallow roots of this forest-dwelling tree, advises the U.S. Forest Service. Native trees and cultivars bred for the climate will not only live longer, but they will also have better-behaved roots -- a tree that has to struggle to survive aggressively hunts for water and nutrients. If the soil is very dry or hot, the roots will quickly dry up and the birch tree won't survive. The river birch is a tree for elven glades and fairy forests. Avoid areas near large amounts of pavement for example. Trees typically live 50 -75 years. The trunk typically grows about 2 feet in diameter but occasionally will be much wider. They grow naturally in wet environments along river and stream banks, so they are used to very moist soil. To double in area every year and build the underground web to support rapid top growth, roots have to grow fast. Like other birches, a river birch's root system is wide and spreading, but not powerful enough to wreak havoc on your foundation. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson2 INTRODUCTION A North American native, ‘Heritage’ river birch can grow 50 to 80 feet tall but is often seen at 40 to 50 feet (Fig. This is because the birch’s native habitat tends to be at the edge of wooded areas and along waterways, where the soil is highly organic due to the constant decay of leaves and wood and moist due to shaded conditions and the proximity of water. Most birch trees like soil that is somewhat acidic, though the paper birch does not mind alkaline soil. In the taproot system, there is one main root from which lateral root branches originate. 1). This birch does tolerate heat over 85 degrees F and so it does not get attacked by Bronze Birch Borer, unless it is very old and dying already. Every tree has its preferences. River birch have shallow root systems and surface roots are common. Although some river birch cultivars are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 and 9, they are not always successful in dry Mediterranean climates. Birch roots fan out in a 4- to 8-inch thick mat just under the surface where they can easily catch rain as it begins to percolate through the soil. Still, don’t plant any of even these near a vegetable garden! This species is well suited to wet soil and along stream sides it often sends roots right into the stream. These roots will probably not crack or break concrete, but can easily find tiny cracks and hasten the process. Think of the encircling roots of the tree radiating out from the trunk; imagine dividing that root system up into five big slices and using only one of … Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images. Dealing With Trees Surface Roots And Avoiding Them At Planting. You’ll find a list of trees with deeper roots here: Garden-Friendly Trees. When River Birch trees do not get the water they need, they will stretch and lengthen toward any source of water. It is a hardy pioneer, one of the early trees to cultivate burnt-out forest areas. River Birch Tree Facts River birch trees (Betula nigra) are hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9. The river birch has a geographical range bigger than any birch in the states. How to Grow Birch Trees: Due to its shallow root system the birch tree is very sensitive to heat and drought. Substantial white birch roots fill the area around the tree and probe cracks in barriers, including concrete. Determine which roots are safe to cut. Middle-aged ‘Heritage’ River Birch. It should be pruned in summer because it bleeds if pruned in spring. River Birch At Nature Hills Nursery. The river birch has not yet reached the popularity of many maples and oaks, but it is well on its way. River Birch Ask An Expert. Like other birches, a river birch's root system is wide and spreading, but not powerful enough to wreak havoc on your foundation. What Kind of Seeds Does a Poplar Tree Have? Locating birches away from oaks, conifers and other susceptible varieties also helps improve their odds of avoiding the root-destroying pathogen. Birch pollen causes significant allergy in some people but pollen is produced for … A birch tree also needs plenty of sun to grow well, but that can also dry up moisture. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. While some may fear the tree's roots, if deprived of water, will enter plumbing pipes, there's no evidence to suggest this is the case. ‘Heritage’ River Birch1 Edward F . It is an excellent tree as its roots do a great job holding shorelines together, helping to prevent erosion. Pollination results in the birch's fruit, small cones that are packed with hairy seeds. Water the river birch tree once every 3 to 5 days in the spring. This fast-growing tree has a root system that will tear up your yard in no time. Uneaten seeds can be carried far by wind and water. They might also have better resistance than birches that come from cooler climates. The trees produce green or brown cones in summer. Trees can transplant in summer, even in the deep south, without problems provided irrigation is present. River Birch Is Beautiful And Goodseed Farm Garden Supplies . A perennial bed under the tree is an excellent idea. River Birch is a fast growing medium-sized tree in most residential landscapes, usually getting about 30 to 40 ft high in such places. As long as you provide the river birch with enough water, and probably even if you don't, its roots will not damage your house. As it matures, the tree bark shows other silvery shades of orange, lavender and salmon. Unfortunately, birch roots are susceptible to oak root fungus disease. Written on: July 14, 2020. When fall arrives, the diamond-shaped, double-toothed leaves turn golden yellow before dropping from the trees. Root system is reported by growers to be densely branched and compact. It will grow about 30 inches or more each year in USDA hardiness zone 7, faster in the south. From the main root, first-order roots arise which are known as the secondary roots. Front Yard Landscape Makeover The Beginning Between Naps On. As a landscape plant, it is grown as a single-stem tree or in a clump as a multi-stemmed tree with three or more trunks. Removing turf from the area around the tree and mulching reduces competition for available moisture. Without the right amount of space, the roots will make a home in the plumbing system’s weakest points. Watering is crucial during those heat waves! Most importantly is the use of bark or wood chip mulch over the root system – the bigger the area the better. River birch or red birch (Betula nigra) grows rapidly, as you are already discovering, to 25 or 30 feet in height and after that a little more slowly to an eventual 40 to 60 feet, often with multiple trunks. Thanks to its shallow root system, river birch is easy to transplant. If you’re trying to landscape a low-lying area that floods regularly, or you have heavy clay soil, this tree is exactly what you need. River birch seed germinates quickly in mud, allowing it to grow in areas where it helps prevent erosion. Note that during the heat of summer months, it is essential to water daily! How To Grow And Maintain A Healthy Birch Tree. However, its shallow root system makes it a difficult ornamental tree. The large area required for birch tree roots, which rapidly grows in a flat fashion, provides a perfect situation for problems to arise with a home’s plumbing or sewer system. Using a trickling hose – water the tree slowly and deeply, over a one to two hour period. Removing the tree is essential to prevent the fungal growth from spreading through the root system into other plants and trees in your landscape. With the widest range of all the native birches, the river birch grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. Some trees have deeper root systems. Birch tend to produce shallow roots that spread out over a large area. River Birch Tree Root System Studiousguy. The secret of growing good fast growing Silver Birch is to select young healthy trees that haven’t been in pots for years, plant them with no root disturbance and have at least 4ft of grass free, mulched or cultivated garden bed around each tree. The river birch likes moist soil and should receive between 30 and 40 gallons of water a month, rainfall included. World traveler, professional writer and consummate gardener, Spengler earned a BA from U.C. Water the tree liberally and continue covering the root ball with dirt until you can see only the top of the root ball. The silver birch -- tall, slender and pale -- is called the Lady of the Wood in folklore. What Kind of Tree to Use for Instant Shade? The University of Mississippi Landscape Services: River Birch: Native Plant Network: Protocol Information River Birch. Birch trees like soil … It is very good for the tree because turf is a strong competitor for water and as the canopy gets denser there is less light and grass gets shaded out. The multiple, slender trunks are draped in silver, satiny bark that splits to allow the nut-brown inner bark to peep through. Root System of the Silver Birch Tree; The best shrubs for a tall screen quickly ; The Best Trees to Plant on a River Bank; Silver birch tree facts; HOMEPAGE HEALTH. Plant a birch tree where the sun is partially blocked so it reaches the leaves but not the ground. Birch roots are among the most aggressive -- and destructive -- tree roots. It is a fast-growing, easy-care tree that thrives in urban settings. If this beauty is deprived of any water, it will seep into your septic system in search of it. thrive in Eastern woodlands and along rivers. The river birch is naturally found in thickets along rivers, streams and lakeshores. Multiply that number by 6. Measure the trunk's diameter at chest height in inches. Birches are medium-sized trees, growing from 30 to 40 feet tall, according to University of California Integrated Pest Management. Written by: Teo Spengler. It grows about 2 to 2.5 ft/yr and lives about 100 years in nature. Birds, like wild turkey and grouse, eat birch seeds, as do voles and other small mammals. These trees will make much better options in your landscape and are way less likely to develop surface roots. Its dense root system tolerates dense, wet soil, and even regular flooding and standing water. Birch tree transplant help needed! A 3-foot root ball may double in size during the tree’s first year of life in a new location and continue growing outward, eventually reaching far outside the edges of the tree’s crown known as its drip line. The spreading canopy provides shade in northern and southern climates. Native species such as water birch (Betula occidentalis), hardy to USDA zones 2 to 4, according to Oregon State University, and specially bred cultivars such as 'Dura-Heat' river birch tree (Betula nigra 'Dura-Heat'), hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7, according to Monrovia, might require less attention. What To Do About River Birch Roots. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Most river birch trees stay under 50 feet tall, but some can shoot up to almost twice that height. University of California Integrated Pest Management: Birch -- Betula Spp. Can You Plant a River Birch Near a Fence? Yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis)—zones 2–7 *Shrub willows have more limited root systems than tree willows and can be used near a flower bed… but never near vegetables! Heritage® river birch. Upon germination, the first root that arises from the radicle is the main cylindrical root, also known as the primary root, which grows vertically downward. But the tree is adaptable and grows readily in average soil in full sun or part shade as long as it gets ample water. According to The Grumpy Gardener, “Its roots are infamous for clogging water lines and breaking sidewalks. When planting a birch tree select a site that will shade its roots in the afternoon and still provide sun to canopy for much of the day. Heritage River Birch and other selections of this species are superior substitutes for the over-utilized shade tree known as Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum), since, in addition to its above-listed attributes, River Birch has wood that, although rapidly growing and relatively lightweight, is not brittle and therefore not prone to wind or ice damage, as is Silver Maple. Its root system is shallow, which means the roots cannot travel deeply to find hidden water reserves. The rule is that the extent of a tree's main root system extends out to what we call the dripline. These lovely trees can get 40 to 70 feet tall with a spread of 40 to 60 feet at maturity, so keep that in mind when selecting a planting site. The birds-nest tangle of roots may prevent other plants from thriving near the river birch's base. Do not cut any of your birch tree's roots within a circle whose radius in inches is that number. Two feet from your home is too close for longterm safety. 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