The river birch is a medium-sized tree that can grow to a height of between 40 and 70 feet. It is popular as an ornamental tree but has very little commercial value. It's hardy, nicely forked, fast-growing and resistant to both ice and wind. It grows well in wet areas and reaches its full height in the rich soil of the lower Mississippi Valley.
River birch peels in flakes of salmon, brown, orange, peach and lavender. It can survive modest droughts. It transplants easily but is very intolerant of shade. River birch can be found in a large eastern north-south range of the United States from Minnesota to Florida. A healthy birch tree in optimal conditions survives for 40 to 50 years if well cared for. River birch is susceptible to birch leafminer but resistant to bronze birch borer.
Proper watering and mulching are the most important factors in maintaining a birch tree. Mulching creates a healthy environment for the birch tree's roots and helps promote survival and tree growth. If rainfall is not sufficient for the birch tree, a slow deep weekly watering is recommended during the growing season to maintain adequate soil moisture and keep the tree in top condition.