Content Detail

Due to susceptibility to bronze birch borer (BBB), European white birch is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually require removal and/or replacement. This tree has an attractive pendulous habit. European white birch was once used extensively in landscapes, but its high susceptibility to the bronze birch borer has limited its use in more recent years.

  • Family (English) Birch
  • Family (botanic) Betulaceae
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 40-50 feet
  • Mature width 20-35 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, late winter, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Oval, Pyramidal
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat:

This tree is native to Europe and Northern Asia.

Bark color and texture:

This species has white bark that peels slightly. On older trees, the trunk becomes black.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Simple, alternate leaves grow 1 to 3 inches long. Dark green leaves are rhomboid in shape.  Leaf margins are double serrated, leaf tip is long and pointed, and Fall color is yellow to yellow-green.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flowers are inconspicuous. Male flowers bloom in cylindrical catkins and females also bloom in a cylindrical structure, but much smaller.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruits are small, winged nutlets held in pendulous catkins.

Plant care:

Avoid pruning in spring as birches are bleeders and will lose large quantities of sap.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Use of this tree is limited by its susceptibility to bronze birch borer.

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