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Betula grossa is often confused with:
Betula lenta Sweet birch
Native alternative(s) for Betula grossa:
Betula nigra Betula nigra
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Ulmus alata Ulmus alata
Tilia americana Tilia americana
Cercis canadensis tree form with pink blooms

Betula grossa

Previously known as:

  • Betula carpinifolia
  • Betula solennis
  • Betula ulmifolia
Phonetic Spelling
BET-yoo-luh ɡɾo-suh
Description

Betula is Latin for birch and describes a genus of about 60 species of deciduous trees and shrubs found in many gardens and landscapes throughout the northern hemisphere. Betula grossa, or Japanese Cherry Birch, is a conical-shaped tree with cherry-like bark that turn dark grey. It is native to Japan where it is often found growing on slopes in woodlands. The tree casts light shade on understory plants and has shallow roots. It can be propagated by sowing seed in the fall or soft stem cutting in the summer.

Japanese Cherry Birch tolerates a wide range of soil types, but prefers in moist, acidic, sandy loams in full sun to part shade. Best foliage color occurs in full sun, but if the plant is sited in an area of summer heat and humidity, it will appreciate afternoon partial shade. The plant does best in cool northern climates. It is not recommended for planting south of USDA Zone 7 and does best in zones 4 to 4. Keep the tree consistently moist and consider using soaker hoses and bark mulches to keep the root zones cool and moist. It needs little pruning, but if necessary, you can prune during the dormant season. Do not prune in winter or spring when the sap is running because it will bleed.

Birches are considered a "pioneer" species and, thus, tends to grow quickly when young, but Japanese Cherry Birch will take 25 to 50 years to reach its full height of 25 feet.. Tiny monoecious (male and female) flowers appear in early spring in separate catkins on the same tree. Greenish female flowers are followed by drooping cone-like fruits containing numerous small winged seeds that typically mature in late summer.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

Birches can become stressed by summer heat and humidity. Japanese Cherry Birches are resistant to the bronze birch borer which infects and kills many types of birch trees. However, it is susceptible to aphids, leaf miner and birch skeletonizer. Watch for leaf spot problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#fall color#yellow#shade tree#conical#pyramidal#low maintenance#winter interest#slopes#cottage garden#showy bark#exfoliating#woodlands
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#fall color#yellow#shade tree#conical#pyramidal#low maintenance#winter interest#slopes#cottage garden#showy bark#exfoliating#woodlands
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Betula
    Species:
    grossa
    Family:
    Betulaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and Southern Japan
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Bronze birch borer that attacks many of the white-barked species.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Conical
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    Female flowers give way to nut-like fruit containing winged seeds that disperse with the wind.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Insignificant
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Description:
    Monoecious catkin flowers appear early to mid-spring and are pollinated by wind. Male flowers are yellow; female are insignificant.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Deltoid
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Serrate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Dark green leaves, 2 to 4 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide. Bright yellow fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Papery
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Young bark is smooth and white and resembles cherry bark with horizontal stripes becoming dark gray to brown or pink with age and exfoliating with thin papery curls. Bark on mature trees gets vertical fissures. Bark is aromatic with a scent of wintergreen.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    Yes
    Stem Description:
    Aromatic (wintergreen) young stems are yellow-brown aging to gray.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Small groups