The American river birch is an attractive, versatile tree that has long been a favorite of landscapers. The only serious draw-backs however were it's susceptibility to Bronze birch borer and Leaf spot diseases. Well, there is a cultivar now that is not only extremely resistant to these problems but is a compact, multi-stemmed shrub-tree wonderfully suited to urban landscapes and courtyards. This is the dwarf, or Fox valley river birch, also known as Betula nigra 'Fox Valley'. This smaller, denser, disease-resistant River birch is the answer to many landscape needs. It typically grows to only 10 feet tall with a 12 foot spread with an irregular crown. It features orange to russet bark which peels away, even at an early age, revealing the pinkish tones beneath. The attractive, dark green leaves, to 3 inches long, are doubly toothed and turn a lovely autumn yellow. Male flowers are held in drooping, brown catkins. They and the female flowers are small but attractive and appear in spring on the same tree.

Fox Valley is best seen when planted in small groupings in lawns or shrub borders, or in damp areas along ponds, streams or low spots. It is beautifully contrasted against a shady background. It is also an excellent choice for hot and humid summer climates since River birch is one of the few birches that is heat-tolerant. It will grow in average, medium to wet or well-drained soil, in full sun to part shade and it adapts well to heavy clays and will tolerate poor drainage. It may not always be available in the discount tree nurseries but should be found in the connoisseur tree nurseries. 


Fox valley river birch

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