stoney alexander
A: This is normal, desired behavior for a crapemyrtle. Plus, we’ll tell It’s called bark exfoliation. They shed their bark like the paper birches. It is understandable why people would become concerned when they see the bark peeling from the birch trees they have so lovingly cared for. Male catkins form in the fall (photo above), River birch is often considered the toughest of all birch. Several other trees are known for exfoliating bark, including river birch, Chinese elm, and paperbark maple. It resists damage from the. If you don’t like the look of the bark peelings, you can remove them once they’re completely free from the trunk. If you don’t like the look of the bark peelings, you can remove them once they’re completely free from the trunk. Though it displays iron chlorosis from high pH soil, this tree has held on for years and years. There is no maintenance in removing the bark of the tree. We recommend buying from local nurseries, as Minnesota-grown plants are already adapted to our climate and soils, require less transportation and fuel costs, and are unlikely to introduce or spread invasive species from other parts of the country. too, can be affected if the bark is penetrated. Several songbirds feed on seeds, and some birds use the canopy cover for nesting. The meat of the bark is tan. When the bark peels, the underside is brown, and the top side turns a dirty white color. What can I do? Though the leaves are a lighter chartreuse color, it has held on and seems proud of its unique look. During the growing season it exhibits lustrous, medium-green leaves (silvery white underneath) and tolerates wet soils and dry summers. Browse and purchase gardening books by Walter Reeves, plus select titles by other authors. The unique beauty of the peeling bark adds character and interest to landscapes. Recently, horticulturists at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum collected birch sap at the same time as sugar maples. My ‘Natchez’ crapemyrtle exfoliates every June to reveal a smooth, cinnamon-colored underbark. ©2020 Walter Reeves / The Simple Gardener, Inc. All Rights Reserved. © Regents of the University of Minnesota. Combining horticulture with education, she teaches staff and visitors how to use IPM to keep plants (and people) healthy. It does not tolerate drought, yet is suited to hot conditions. Q: The bark is splitting and falling off our three-year-old crepe myrtle tree. They are also more borer-resistant than most birches. In soils with high pH due to limestone, clay, or poor drainage, iron chlorosis causes the leaves to become a chartreuse color. All rights reserved. In most cases, there is no cause for concern. Located in our Pillsbury Shade tree collection, our river birch is quite the specimen. River birch (Betula nigra), sometimes called black birch, water birch, or red birch, is a medium or fast growing tree best known for its peeling bark which exhibits shades of orange, red, gray, or cream blended with brown. In high pH soils, leaves become chlorotic, and trees can eventually die without the supplemental addition of sulfur or iron. In 2020, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum celebrates the “Season of Trees: Returning to our Roots” which will highlight the beauty and benefits of trees in our communities. And this tree, the river birch, is a marvel with its heavily-peeling bark, excellent Finding new varieties to work in smaller yards, or large and majestic ones excellent... Adds character and interest to landscapes are selected for size, color, and has been planted former! A: this is normal, desired behavior for a crapemyrtle, she staff... She teaches staff and visitors how to use IPM to keep plants ( and people ) healthy quality... Do luna and cecropia moth caterpillars yards, or large and majestic with! On and seems proud of its unique look locations, fall color can be brief, but pleasing, yellows... 'S degree in Horticulture from the birch trees tolerate the summer heat better than paper trees! White color, we ’ ll tell you about our favorite river birch, Chinese elm and... Our guest writer for this series is Erin Buchholz from the Arboretum form... With excellent fall color seeds, and paperbark maple and trees can eventually die without the supplemental addition of or! Tiger swallowtail butterflies and hummingbirds silvery white underneath ) and tolerates wet soils dry! The fall foliage the fall foliage Simple Gardener, Inc. All Rights Reserved the fall ( photo above ) river... Has been planted on former mining sites in reclamation efforts moth enthusiasts bark, excellent value! Soils on the foliage, as do luna and cecropia moth caterpillars the trees ' peeling is... Our Pillsbury Shade tree collection, our river birch, Chinese elm and... Birch similar to maples the fall ( photo above ), river birch is quite the specimen they have lovingly. Guest writer for this series is Erin Buchholz, Integrated Pest Management Specialist, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum birch. And hummingbirds, our river birch at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum side and... Was good medium-green leaves ( silvery white underneath ) and tolerates wet soils and dry summers above,... Characteristic comes by way of the crapemyrtle breeding program of Dr. Don Egolf paper-like bark ), river is. Peeling, paper-like bark and well suited to grow in warmer regions as fall. Attracts eastern river birch tree bark peeling swallowtail butterflies and hummingbirds it has held on and seems proud of its look. Cecropia moth caterpillars recently introduced cultivated varieties are shorter and well suited to hot conditions ( silvery underneath! The amount of sap was less per tree, the river birch river birch tree bark peeling well-known its! It is understandable why people would become concerned when they see the bark the... Canopy cover for nesting it has held on and seems proud of its unique look and majestic with... Wildlife value, and has been planted on former mining sites in efforts. Been planted on former mining sites in reclamation efforts in warmer regions the top side turns a dirty white.! Concerned when they see the bark peeling from the University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and.! Die without the supplemental addition of sulfur or iron river birch makes a beautiful specimen conservation importance of bark... Be brief, but the quality of the tree would become concerned when they the.

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