Boone County Arboretum
9190 Camp Ernst Road
Union, Kentucky 41091
Phone: (859) 384-4999
Fax: (859) 384-6888
arboretum@boonecountyky.org

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Cultural Details for Betula lenta

Common Name:
Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch, Black Birch

Growth Rate:
Medium, 20' over a 20 year period

Average Mature Height:
40-55' (possibly to 80' in wild)

Average Mature Width:
35-45'

Flower Details:
Flowers appear in April before the leaves. Pendulous male catkins formed during summer and fall of the year prior to flowering, visible through winter, expand to 3-4" long. Upright female flowers, 0.5-1" long, enclosed in the bud and borne upright.

Fruit Details:
Small winged nutlet, occurring in a strobile 0.75-1.33" long, 0.6" wide.

Fall Color:
Golden yellow - perhaps the best fall color of the birches commonly found in landscapes

Bark Details:
Glistening reddish brown to almost black with prominent horizontal lenticels on young trees. Mature trees become brownish black and breaking up into large, thin, irregular, scaly plates.

Disease / Insect Problems or Resistance:
Birches are subject to many pathogens (leaf spots, leaf blisters, leaf rust, canker, dieback, wood-decay, and mildew) and insects (aphids, witch-hazel leaf gall aphid, birch skeletonizer, leaf miner, and seed mite gall). Resistant to bronze birch borer.

Native Habitat:
Maine to Alabama, west to Ohio. Introduced 1759.

Other Features:
Wintergreen scent and sweet flavor to bruised stems and leaves.

Culture and Care:
Prefers rich, moist, slightly acid, well-drained soils. However can be found on rocky, drier sites; and in the heavy clay soils of the Midwest.

This plant was blooming:
4/19/2010 - 5/10/2010

Plantings of this cultivar at Boone County Arboretum:
1278, 8591, 8592, 8593, 8596

    The information on this page may have come from one or more of the following sources:
  • Dirr, Michael. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. Stipes Publishing. 1998.
  • Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America. John Wiley & Sons. 1988.
  • North Carolina Extension Plant Fact Sheets. www.ces.ncsu.edu
  • University of Connecticut Plant Database. www.hort.uconn.edu