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The Renaissance Reflection® birch is a tall, fast-growing tree with striking bark that displays dark green foliage throughout the season, transitioning to a golden color in the fall. This tree is resistant to bronze birch borer (BBB) but does not do well when exposed to drought or polluted conditions.  This plant is a cultivar of a species that is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits.

  • Family (English) Birch
  • Family (botanic) Betulaceae
  • Planting site Residential and parks
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 50-70 feet
  • Mature width 20-25 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Road salt, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early fall, early winter, late fall, late winter, mid fall, midwinter
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Pyramidal, Vase-shaped
  • Growth rate Fast
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Planting considerations Intolerant of pollution
  • Has cultivars NA

Native geographic location and habitat:

A cultivated variety of a native species.

Bark color and texture: 

Bark is very white, but does not peel much.  Long, black lenticels  and V-shaped black marks at branch connections are prominent on this species as it ages.  

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

The simple, alternate leaves are 2 to 4 inches long.  They are dark green, oval-shaped, and have doubly-serrated margins.  Leaves are dark green in summer, changing to yellow in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Inconspicuous;  male flowers in cylindrical catkins; females also in a cylindrical structure, but much smaller.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

Cylindrical clusters of winged nutlets.

 

Plant care:

This birch performs better in more northern climates.  It is more heat resistant than the species. Avoid pruning birches in spring as they are bleeders (will lose quantities of sap).

 

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Leaf miners and cankers are possible.  Chlorosis (yellowing) may occur in high pH soils.  Resistant to bronze birch borer.

 

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