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Featured Urban Tree

River Birch (Betula nigra)

River Birch Tree A beautiful example of a River Birch cultivar ('Heritage') can be seen next to Scarborough Creek just below the Arboretum entrance. River birch is found throughout the Southeastern U.S. and ranges from southern New York and Pennsylvania, west to Indiana, and south to Texas and Florida. It is found on moist soils along stream banks, floodplains, and swampy bottomlands and can play an important role in stream bank erosion. It grows to heights of 50-75 ft and has alternate, doubly serrate (both fine and coarse teeth) leaf margins that are triangular in shape.

River Birch Bark Its attractive, scaly, beige-colored bark is a conspicuous feature that makes River Birch desirable as a landscape tree. The knotty wood has limited value for lumber but is used for pulp and as firewood. Another native birch found at the Arboretum is Sweet Birch (Betula lenta), which is present at the junction of the North Loop Rd and Backwoods Trail, as well as at other places along our trails.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: UTforest@utk.edu