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Plants that fill a similar niche:
Betula platyphylla var. japonica Betula platyphylla var. japonica bark
Betula pendula form
Betula jacquemontii Betula jacquemontii
Betula pendula subsp. mandshurica has some common insect problems:
Bronze Birch Borer

Betula pendula subsp. mandshurica

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Betula platyphylla
Phonetic Spelling
BET-yoo-luh PEND-yoo-luh man-SHER-ih-ka
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 pendula subsp. mandshurica, or Asian White Birch, is a subspecies of Betula pendula, although some botanists argue that it should be included with Betula platyphylla. Asian White Birch is a slender tree with good fall foliage. The tree supports a wide range of insects and the light shade it casts allows shrubs and other plants to grow beneath it. It is noted for its smooth white bark.

Birches are best grown in moist, acidic, sandy or rocky, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Asian White Birch will tolerate dry soil. 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 is said to tolerate summer heat better than most birches. 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 produce an abundance of sap in spring and a species of woodpecker called the sapsucker taps birch trees in spring by cutting small wells in the bark and drinking the sap, which oozes out.

Birches are considered a "pioneer" species and, thus, tend to grow quickly when young. However, Asian White Birch is difficult to transplant and has shallow roots. 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:

The Asian White Birch is susceptible to the bronze birch borer, which infects and kills trees. Aphids, leaf miner and birch skeletonizer may also occur. Watch for leaf spot problems.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Crimson Forest'
'Crimson Forest'
Tags:
#white#sun#deciduous#full sun#wildlife plant#white bark#tree#fast growing#birch#non-showy flowers#larval host plant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Crimson Forest'
'Crimson Forest'
Tags:
#white#sun#deciduous#full sun#wildlife plant#white bark#tree#fast growing#birch#non-showy flowers#larval host plant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Betula
    Species:
    pendula
    Family:
    Betulaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Outer bark has been used for drinking vessels, canoe skins, and roofing tiles.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central Siberia to Japan, Alaska to Canada
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant supports the larvae of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilo glaucus). They have three flights from February-November in the deep south and March-September in the north. The adult Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies feed on milkweed, joe pye weed, wild cherry, and lilac.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    tolerates dry soil
    Edibility:
    Sap has been brewed as a beer and turned into syrup.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Fine
  • 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
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    Female flowers are followed by drooping cone-like fruits containing numerous small winged seeds that typically mature in late summer.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Tiny monoecious flowers appear in early spring in separate catkins on the same tree: yellowish-brown male flowers in drooping catkins (to 2.5 inches long) and greenish female flowers in smaller, upright catkins (to 1 1/4 inches long). Flowers on catkins are no more than 1/8 inch.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Glossy green leaves (1.5 to 3 inches long) have long tapered tips. Appear early in the spring. Greenish-yellow fall color provides fall/winter interest.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    White
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    This plant has smooth, white bark and develops bark color at an early age. Does not exfoliate.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Warty and brown in color. Larger branches display showy, bright white bark.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Flowering Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil