Our River Birch (Betula nigra) planted primarily to create shade for the patio,
but also for its eye catching exfoliating bark.
We chose a multi stemmed tree to increase the shade area, currently 36ft in diameter.
After a long growing season of being attacked by caterpillars, leaf miners and various pathogens, the tree will absorb the remaining chlorophyll (green) leaving nothing but the skeletal leaves natural pigment (Fall colour) as they abscise and fall to the ground.
The exfoliating bark exposes the inner layers to sunlight, which in turn allows the tree to photosynthesize on sunny winter days, rids itself of some parasites, lichen, moss, fungi etc and increases transpiration. All aiding in the speedy growth of this exceptional tree.
As the tree ages, the bark takes on a more normal look,
and becomes almost scaly in maturity.
In March 2018 we had a winter storm of wet heavy snow.
Some of the limbs were bent to the ground, but very few broke and returned to their upright position once the snow load was removed.
To prevent recurrence I cabled the main trunks.
When first planted, to give the 8ft birch (left foreground) a head start I excavated a good cubic yd of the sandy soil and replaced it with a mix of moisture retaining aged horse manure and good quality top soil,
while the proximity of our pond provides a constant supply of water.
(River Birch circled in blue)
So when I tell you the above photo was taken on Dec 21st 2009 and this photo dated Oct 16th 2018, you will understand just how quickly this tree has grown.