Japan native tree is generally pyramidal to oval, although some
trees might be more round or mop-like. The bark is usually quite
attractive- beginning as reddish brown when young, becoming white
or gray and exfoliating into long sheets, giving the tree a shaggy
appearance - but apparently somewhat variable. It must be noted
here that the trees often labeled B. max. by horticulturists
and the nursery trade are quite different from what is now suspected
to be the true/taxonomic species. The confusion is unfortunate;
just tread lightly when depending on information about "Monarch"
leaves of young trees are pubescent with purple veins on the undersides.
Mature leaves are exceptionally large, dark green, turning yellow
in the fall.
Exceptionally large catkins.
feet in the wild but only around 50 under cultivation.
moist, fertile and slightly acidic soils. Can survive in drier soils
but growth will be decreased. Full sun. Transplants well. Prune
in late summer or fall because of excessive sap bleeding in the
spring. Limited hardiness in both cold and hot extremes, probably
only hardy in zones 5 and 6.
birch is supposedly completely resistant to bronze
birch borer and partially resistant to
birch leaf miner. However, recently examined specimens have
appeared susceptible to borer. Although more research is essential,
Monarch birch does seem more resistant to these pests than European
white birch. Also, this species is atypical of the birches in its
much increased tolerance of urban environments.
well for large area plantings like parks or estates. Good for a
naturalizing effect. Good with evergreens for winter interest.
have a light requirement. When the seeds are not exposed to over
9 hours of light per day, a cold treatment can compensate for the
light requirement. Sow seed in the fall for germination the following
spring. Even so, birch seeds often have low viability rates, so
don't expect over 50% germination. Cuttings are difficult with low
success rate. Moisture may be a critical factor. Try collecting
cuttings in the fall and allowing them to remain in the rooting
flats over winter.
Sustainable plants are noninvasive and require less pesticides,
water, fertilizer. and maintenance. Tbe use of sustainable plants,
in conjunction with sound horticultural practices is one of the
most effective long-term approaches to avoiding pesticide misuse
in the landscape. The URI Sustainable Landscapes Proqram is working
to increase the availabilitv and consumer demand for sustainable