River Birch (Betula nigra Heritage®)

Trade name information:
Trade Name: Heritage®
Cultivar name: 'Cully'
General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9a
Plant Height: 40 to 70 feet (12-20 m)
Plant Spread: 40 to 60 feet (12-18 m)
Leaves: Good fall color
Deciduous
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: Brown
Green
Other: Green (female), Brown (male)
Flower Time: Spring
Late spring or early summer
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Provides winter interest
Shade Tree
Dynamic Accumulator: P (Phosphorus)
Wildlife Attractant: Other Beneficial Insects
Resistances: Flood Resistant
Pollinators: Wind
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Monoecious
Awards and Recognitions: Other: 2008 Great Plant Picks Award Winner

Image

Photo gallery:
Location: Zone 5Date: 2016-03-30
By Fleur569
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Location: Zone 5Date: 2016-03-30
By Fleur569
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Location: Thorndale, PennsylvaniaDate: 2007-12-06a planted grove of trees near a park creek
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2015-10-23two mature trees in golden fall color
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-03-31close-up of mature bark
By ILPARW
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5Date: Sep 28, 2011 1:19 PMDark Branches
By chelle
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5Date: Sep 28, 2011 1:19 PMEleven Year Old Tree
By chelle
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2012-03-07Branch section with buds - late winter, early spring
By chelle
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Location: Thorndale, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-07-21a planted grove along a creek in a park
By ILPARW
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Comments:
Posted by chelle (N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b) on Mar 11, 2012 6:54 AM

River Birch (Betula nigra 'Heritage') is probably not a plant for everyone. It's a fast growing tree to fairly large proportions, and its branches are messy. They're prone to breakage under heavy snow and ice, and shed smaller sections regularly. Its seeds are fertile at maturity and germinate readily. This plant might best be placed in an area away from flowerbeds.

In a natural setting with moist soil, this tree is gorgeous and very easy to grow.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 22, 2017 1:19 PM

I once met the discoverer of the 'Heritage' Birch when he was substitute teaching for Dr. Michael Dirr one day in woody plant class at the University of IL. His name was Earl Cully and he found it in southwest Illinois in a homeowner's yard. He was granted permission to take buds of the tree for propagation. This new cultivar was first called 'Cully' after him. 'Heritage' is the more commercial trade name. It is just like the mother species, except that it keeps the young kind of bark with lots of cream color and some orange-brown with pinkish tints. It is probably sold more in the North than the mother species at nurseries because the bark is so outstanding. Like other birch, it is flexible and resistant to strong winds; however, River Birch does drop lots of dead twigs much of the year, and it drops lots of seeds in early summer, and lots of leaves during much of the summer, so that only about half of the leaves are left for the yellow fall color. Therefore, any kind of River Birch, lovely as it is, is best not used in a place where fallen twigs, leaves, and seed are not wanted.

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