Paper Birch Tree

By: C. Colston Burrell
Paper birch tree is a stunning native to northern climates. See more pictures of trees.

Paper birch tree is a popular tree remarkable for its papery white bark. It is found in cooler locations across the continent.

Description of paper birch tree: Generally a medium-size tree, paper birch grows to about 40 feet in height. In good conditions it can reach 75 feet or more. The bark is reddish brown on younger plants, becoming creamy white with dark horizontal lines called lenticels in the third or fourth year. The bark peels back readily, revealing a reddish orange inner bark. Its deciduous leaves are dark green and lightly toothed, becoming golden in the fall. The catkins offer little special interest.


Growing paper birch tree: Paper birch grows in a wide variety of conditions, from full sun to moderate shade, and from dry soils to moist ones -- although it will not tolerate waterlogging. Like most white-barked birches, it is susceptible to insects and diseases in warmer climates or prolonged drought.

Uses for paper birch tree: A popular landscape tree, paper birch is used both as a single specimen and in clumps. Its fall color and white bark in winter make an unbeatable combination.

Related species of paper birch tree: There are many species of white-barked birches, including the popular, but short-lived, European birch (Betula pendula), which offers several cutleaf, weeping, and bronze-leaf varieties. B. jacquemontii is a good choice for those looking for particularly white bark. B. nigra Heritage is becoming increasingly popular as a substitute for paper birch in warmer zones. Its bark is light tan with a distinct salmon tinge.

Scientific name of paper birch tree: Betula papyrifera


Want more information on trees and gardening? Try:

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