Betula lenta (Sweet Birch) - 1 Qt Super Plugs


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Most common in the Central and Southern Appalachian Mountains, sweet birch is found in drier, rockier sites than the closely related yellow birch.  Sweet birch is typically found in mixed pine-oak-hickory forests, and is often seen in pioneer stands.  Sweet birch can also appear in the understory, though it grows most quickly in the open.  On very dry, gravelly sites, sweet birch is almost shrub-like, rarely growing above 25-30 feet tall.  In rich, moist soils, Sweet birch can grow nearly 100 feet tall with a 2-foot diameter trunk.

Sweet birch typically has excellent form, and it grows quickly.  Its vibrant gold autumn color is regarded as the best of the birches, and its summer foliage is a bright, pleasing green.  In winter, the fine twigs set out at horizontal angles look good traced with snow and ice.


Sweet birch is a very usefull tree - Its lumber is mixed in with Yellow birch, and is used for furniture.  The twigs and sapwood of sweet birch are rich in wintergreen oil, and birch beer made from these branches has been a long favorite in the Southeast.  When planted in the landscape, Sweet birch makes a very attractive shade tree.

Growing Information

Sweet birch is an excellent landscape tree, where its needs for cool conditions are met.  Though reasonably drought tolerant, sweet birch suffers in hot, dry conditions.  Mix sweet birch in a grove with chestnut and red oaks, shagbark hickory, flowering dogwood, redbud, fraser magnolia and pitch pine for a replica mountain forest - If your soil is sandy and acidic, you can plant an understory of lowbush blueberry and mountain laurel, with a ground layer of wintergreen, partridge berry, downy rattlesnake orchid and christmas fern for a beautiful acidic forest.

Our sweet birch seed source is in Pennsylvania - Seeds are started in February to Early March in Rootmaker® propagation trays, and finished off in 1-Gallon Root Pots.  These potted trees are 3-4 feet tall, and have never been cut back.

Common Name: Sweet Birch
Botanical Name: Betula lenta