River Birch Tree

River Birch Tree

The River Birch Tree is probably best known for its peeling paper-like bark. The bark peels in reddish-brown and pink paper-thin layers that are quite attractive. It usually drops its lower branches over seasonal wind and rain storms, but overall it’s a very low-maintenance tree.

I planted a river birch about 10 years ago at the advice of a friend when I was complaining about my swampy backyard. It was a match made in heaven. The tree has grown to a height of over 30 feet in the past 10 years…and I have gained a nice play area for my kids. And at that height it has provided a nice spot of shade for a few lawn chairs and beaten down parents ;-).

The fall color of the river birch is also nice. Its long dropping branches of yellow leaves make it an equally pleasing landscape tree for the Fall. If you’re looking for one of these in the woods, check the river banks and drainage areas as these trees thrive in wet soil!

Below is a summary of tree facts for the River Birch:

Scientific Name: Betula nigra
Region: North America
Height: 40-50 feet
Spread: 25-35 feet
Leaf Length & Color: 2-4 inches, green
Fall Leaf Color: Yellow
Unique Characteristics: Prefers moist to flooded soil areas.
Usually has multiple trunks.


This tree can be found from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada down to Mexico. No matter where your camping or outdoor adventure takes you, there’s a good chance that you’ll be hiking by or pitching a tent under a River Birch!