At Native Forest Nursery we grow bare root seedlings and #3 container trees. Our container trees are grown in a #3 air pruned pot. This root making container eliminates nearly all potential for root wrapping. This allows for an excellent root structure and delivers an extremely healthy tree. The bare root seedlings at our nursery are grown in a sandy loam soil with high organic matter content, which provides an extremely healthy environment for our seedlings. Our bare root liners and seedlings are hand lifted, packaged, and kept in cold storage until you are ready to plant. Conservation uses for our products include reclamation, mitigation, reforestation, restoration, wildlife habitat improvement and wetland uses. Horticultural uses for our products include field liners, container liners, landscape plantings, budding stock, grafting stock and ornamental uses.

Family: Betulaceae
Latin Name: Betula nigra
Foliage: Medium to dark green
Fall Foliage: Yellow
Bloom: Brown and green catkins; inconcpicuous
Bloom Time: April to May
Shape: Rounded to irregular
Bark: Papery pale color strips
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Zone: Zone 4 to Zone 9
Size: 40 to 70 feet
Spread: 40 to 60 feet
Care: Medium to wet, well drained soil
Purchase
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Also termed “Black Birch” and “Water Birch”, the River Birch is scientifically classified as Betla Nigra, and belongs to the Betulaceae family. It is native to the eastern United States, ranging from New Hampshire to northern Florida, and as far west as southern Minnesota and Texas. With a shape ranging from rounded to irregular, the River Birch peaks at an average of 40-70 ft. and spreads at 40-60ft.

As a deciduous tree, the River Birch sheds its ovate leaves in the winter, revealing smooth or thinly haired twigs. From April to May, the tree blossoms with wind-pollinated brown-green catkins: slim, cylindrical clusters that typically droop from the twigs. It favors full sun to partial shade, and thrives in medium to wet soil. It has a 4-9 hardiness range. The River Birch is also characterized by its peeling bark, tending to exfoliate in curly wafer-like sheets, with hues that vary from dark grayish brown to pale creamy pink. The inner bark of the tree is considered survival food, and its sap was often used by Native Americans to create syrup. Today this sap is also processed to create vinegar; in other places throughout the world, birch sap is used to wash or color hair, cleanse freckles or sunspots, and treat lung diseases, kidney stones, and skin diseases. The wood itself, though knotty and with a tendency to warp, darkens beautifully with age and is extremely sturdy, used to create arrow shafts and furniture alike.

In Celtic legend, the River Birch symbolizes purification and renewal. Its wood was also thought to be the preferred material for witches’ brooms, although it is also strongly associated with love and fertility deities; Scotland’s Beltane fires were often lit with birch and oak wood, and Maypoles were commonly fashioned from birch trees. In folklore, the River Birch is often associated with beauty, tolerance, and inception. The word “birch” is derived from the Sanskrit word bhurga, which means “bark used to write upon”, paying tribute to the tree’s papery, pale, and shedding bark.


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