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.

A.K.A.: Black Birch, Cherry Birch
Family: Betulaceae
Latin Name: Betula lenta
Foliage: Medium green
Fall Foliage: Yellow
Bloom: Brown and green catkins; inconspicuous
Bloom Time: April to May
Shape: Rounded to irregular
Bark: Brown-black and scaly
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Zone: Zone 4 to Zone 9
Size: 40 to 50 feet
Spread: 35 to 45 feet
Care: Medium to wet, well drained soil

Also known as “Black Birch”, “Cherry Birch”, “Spice Birch”, and “Mahogany Birch” (a lot of names to live up to!), the Sweet Birch is scientifically classified as Betula Lenta. Like its other Birch cousins in the Betulaceae family, the Sweet Birch is native to eastern North America, ranging from Maine to Ontario, and extending from Georgia to the Appalachian Mountains.

The Sweet Birch’s average lifespan encompasses a century, though older trees have been recorded to live up to 150 years. The tree thrives best given full sun to partial shade, and prefers medium to wet well-drained soils. It flourishes in hardiness zones of 4-9. Medium-sized and deciduous, the Sweet Birch reaches heights of 40-50 ft. with a spread of 35-45 ft., peaking in a rounded or irregular crown. Its leaves are alternate, oval, and long, of a medium green color that turns shades of yellow-gold in autumn. Its catkins (males are pendulous, females are erect) appear in April and May and are colored greenish-brown.

The Sweet Birch’s defining characteristic is its bark, dark and scaly, developing in irregular and rough plated patterns that are striped by deep vertical cracks and scaled designs that darken as the tree ages. The twigs, if scraped, emit a distinct scent that is reminiscent of wintergreen; this is due to the bark’s secretion of methyl salicylate. It was indeed used commercially for the production of wintergreen oil before modern industrial syntheses. The tree’s sap flows later but faster than maple sap, and its syrup is stronger and more closely resembles molasses.

Mature Tree Photos: