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Moor birch is very susceptible to bronze birch borer (Agrilus anxius). It was once used in landscapes, but its high susceptibility to the bronze birch borer has limited its use in more recent years. This species is not recommended for planting anywhere in the Midwest and usually requires removal due to its susceptibility to the borer.

Moor birch is native to Asia and Europe, but was introduced to the United States as an ornamental tree. As an alternative, river birch (Betula nigra) is a good option. Before purchasing or planting river birch, be sure to check for any local or state guidelines, and ensure that this plant is suitable for its habitat by reviewing planting considerations from Arboretum experts or by finding it in the USDA Plants Database.

  • Family (English) Birch
  • Family (botanic) Betulaceae
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small tree (15-25 feet), Medium tree (25-40 feet)
  • Mature height 20-40 feet
  • Mature width 20-30 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Wet sites
  • Season of interest early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Oval, Pyramidal
  • Growth rate Fast
  • Wildlife Game birds, Insect pollinators, Small mammals, Songbirds
  • Has cultivars Yes

More Information

Size and Method of Spreading

Moor birch is a small to medium tree, growing 20 to 40 feet tall and 20 to 30 feet wide.

Native Geographic Location and Habitat

Native to Europe and Asia.

Bark Color and Texture

Bark is fairly smooth and white.

Leaf Description

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

Flower Description

Inconspicuous male flowers form in cylindrical catkins. Females also in a cylindrical structure, but much smaller.

Fruit Description

Cylindrical clusters of winged nutlets.

Care Knowledge

Pests, Diseases, and Tolerances

Moor birch is very susceptible to bronze birch borer (Agrilus anxius).


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