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River Birch
Betula nigra

Medium-sized tree that may grow to a mature height of 50-75' and width of 35-40'. Can grow to 20-30' in 10 years. Well suited for bank stabilization, shoreland and floodplain restorations on mesic-to-wet soils. Its ability to thrive on moist sites makes it useful for erosion control and rain gardens. This species is long-lived and fairly disease resistant. It is used in yards and landscape designs. Fast-growing, likes moist soil, can be messy.

USDA symbol: BENI

General Information

Plant TypeTree
Height50 to 75 feet
Light ExposureSun, Part Sun
Soil MoistureMedium, Wet
Bloom ColorYellow, Red
River Birch (River Birch<div><em class="small">Betula nigra</em></div>)
Photo credit: Metro Blooms (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceVery High
General Resilience9
Salt ToleranceLow
Stress ToleranceFire Tolerant

Pollinator Value: Low

Bloom MonthsApril to May
Larval Host ofMoths
Specific Pollinators HostedAcronicta betulae

Project Planning

Project TypeErosion Control, Rain Garden, Restoration, Sandy or Engineered Soils, Shoreline Buffer
Coefficient of Conservatism2
Herbivore SensitivityMedium
Rate of SpreadSlow
Soil StabilizationDeep
Vegetative ReproductionClonal


CountyGoodhue, Houston, Wabasha, Washington, Winona
EcoregionDriftless Area, North Central Hardwood Forests, Northern Lakes and Forests, Western Cornbelt Plains
Approximate Eco ProvinceEastern Broadleaf Forest, Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland