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Betula Nigra - also known as River Birch, Black Birch and Red Birch. A rather special variety of Birch tree, Betula Nigra is one of the few birches that will tolerate a hot spell and is an ornamental trees that will thrive in wet soil. This type of soil is usually reserved for Willow trees but there are other options and River Birch is a perfect fit. Originally found growing along river banks in the south eastern states of the US, Betula Nigra is right at home next to water.
A graceful tree with slender branches, it is renowned for its exceptional bark. The bronze coloured bark is constantly in a state of flux. The shedding causes the wispy curling bark to roll back and reveal the creamiest trunk below and this contrast and texture are one of the tree's main assets. Like most Birch trees, the foliage is diamond shaped with a serrated edge, the leaves are a vibrant green when they emerge in the Spring along with fuzzy, yellow catkins around this time, which are another decorative bonus. Betula Nigra will grow into an impressive specimen tree reaching between 8-12 metres at maturity. This is an incredibly accommodating tree that will tolerate the heat or the wet and is happy growing in an urban situation. As with other types of Birch tree, River Birch also works well when planted as a mini 'forest' - the grouping of trees can really emphasise their beautifully textured bark. During the Autumn the leaves turn a delicious golden colour before falling to reveal the structure of the branches and again the beautiful bark takes centre stage.