Grey Birch (Betula populifolia)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Grey Birch
Give a thumbs up Gray birch

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 7a
Plant Height: 25 to 50 feet
Plant Spread: 20 to 35 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Uses: Provides winter interest
Dynamic Accumulator: P (Phosphorus)
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Other Beneficial Insects: caterpillars can feed from foliage
Pollinators: Wind
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
mature tree in fall color

Photo gallery:

Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 13, 2017 3:08 PM

A nice white-barked birch tree native to Nova Scotia, southeast Quebec and Ontario, New England, New York, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania. It has small leaves about 2 to 3.5 inches long in a triangular form, with a long apex and a rounded base. It gets a good golden fall color that can be as good as Paper Birch. It looks a lot like the European White Birch, but is often more irregular in form and with more twigginess. (Gray Birch has been crossed with red-leaved cultivars of European White Birch to get more heat and drought resistant trees.) The white bark of Gray Birch is tight on the trunk and develops gray streaks when old around the base of the tree. It grows in dry to draining wet soils in sandy, silty, good clay, or peaty bog soils. It grows fast of about 2 feet to 2.5 feet a year. It lives about 30 to 50 years. It has a wide, shallow fibrous root system and is easy to transplant. It is quite common in the wild in northern Pennsylvania whether on mountain ridges or in bogs. A good number has been planted around the Philadelphia area of PA. It is more resistant to the Bronze Birch Borer than most other birches, except River Birch. A cultivar called 'Whitespire' from the arboretum at the University of Wisconsin in Madison was selected and has been commonly planted around in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest since the 1990's that is neater in form than the mother species usually tends to be, and its leaf bases are flat across instead of rounded. I have two Gray Birches and one Whitespire Birch in my southeast Pennsylvania yard that I planted in 2002, and I love them. (Unfortunately, the Spotted Laternfly likes their smooth bark, so I spray them once-in-awhile with Malathion contact insecticide.)

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
What kind of tree is this? by Ksmith603 Jun 8, 2020 5:36 PM 2
grey birch dieback by elisegreen Sep 6, 2018 1:29 PM 2
Salt tolerant plants by eclayne Oct 10, 2020 8:42 PM 133

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