Betula davurica
Common Name: Asian black birch
Type: Tree
Family: Betulaceae
Native Range: Northeastern Asia
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 40.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Best grown in acidic, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Best in moist fertile soils. Consider using soaker hoses and bark mulches to keep the root zones cool and moist. Tolerates drier soils than most other species of birch. It needs little pruning, but if necessary, prune during the dormant season. Avoid pruning in spring when the sap is running because bleeding will occur.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Betula dahuvica, commonly known as Dahurian birch or Asian black birch, is a medium sized deciduous tree with a round-spreading crown that typically matures over time to 40-50' tall. It is native to forests and mountain slopes in northeastern China, Manchuria, Korea and Japan. It grows in both single and multiple trunk forms. Ovate to elliptic, dark green leaves (2-4" long) have irregular, doubly serrate margins and lateral veins in 6-8 pairs. Leaves turn yellow in fall. This tree is particularly noted for its showy, fissured, gray-brown bark which exfoliates in shaggy, paper-like curls with age. Tiny monoecious flowers are contained in drooping, brownish male catkins (2-3” long) and smaller, upright, greenish female catkins (to 1" long), both of which appear in spring on the same tree. Most birches, including Dahurian birch, are self-incompatible, however, which means at least two trees are needed to achieve production of seed. Flowers bloom in spring (April). Female flowers are followed by drooping cone-like fruits containing numerous, small, winged seeds that typically mature in late summer.

Betula davurica is synonymous with Betula dahurica.

Genus name is the Latin name for birch.

Specific epithet means of Davuria (Dahuria) a region of south-east Siberia and north-east Mongolia.

Problems

Birch leaf miner and aphids are potential insect problems. Weakened birches become vulnerable to the bronze birch borer which can infect and kill trees, particularly those that are stressed by summer heat and humidity. Plants stressed by insects seem more susceptible to cankers. Watch for leaf spot diseases. Iron chlorosis may occur in high pH soils. Dahurian birch is noted for having resistance to bronze birch borer.

Garden Uses

Excellent as a specimen or in small groups for lawns, parks and commercial properties and, in particular, for wet soils along ponds or streams or in low spots. It can be effective when planted with a dark foliage or shady background. For hot summer climates including the St. Louis area, this tree is a good substitute for the paper birch.