Dakota Pinnacle® BirchBetula platyphylla 'Fargo'
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Betula platyphylla 'Fargo'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Dakota Pinnacle® Birch is a slender pyramidal tree, growing 3 to 5 feet a year and reaching 30 feet within 10 years. It will only be 10 feet wide by then, and the branches are retained right to the ground, making an attractive accent specimen for a lawn, or for screening. It can be planted in the corners of your yard, or at the back of beds, and its butter yellow fall leaves make a beautiful display. Slender catkins decorate the bare branches in early spring. This very hardy and wind-resistant tree is ideal for northern gardeners, and unlike many other birch, it is very tolerant of urban conditions.
Plant the Dakota Pinnacle Birch in full sun or partial shade, in any ordinary to wet soil. It tolerates alkaline soils, clay soils and some drought, in cooler climates. It needs no trimming to keep its slender form, and it has good resistance to the bronze birch borer. It is entirely hardy in zone 3 and all the cooler states to zone 6 or 7. If you have hot and humid summers, use mulch to keep the roots cool, and avoid drought stress by watering regularly.
Slender, upright trees are always valuable garden features, especially in smaller spaces. There are many evergreens that are tall and thin, but not so many deciduous trees. That is why the Dakota Pinnacle® Birch is such a valuable tree – even more so because it is very hardy, making it available to northern gardeners too. For height in a limited space, or where you simply want a strong vertical accent, this lovely tree, with its slender, balanced, pyramidal form, has exactly the grace and impact you need. Fast-growing, it will soon develop a mature size, reaching 30 feet or more, with a spread of just 10 feet at ground level. Add to that its glowing golden leaves in fall, and the handsome white bark revealed when those leaves fall, and you have a great specimen for a lawn, for the back of a bed or for screening.
The Dakota Pinnacle Birch is an upright deciduous tree, growing 3 to 5 feet a year to reach 30 feet within 10 years, and ultimately growing over 40 feet tall. It remains narrow, growing only 10 to 12 feet wide, with an elegant and neat pyramidal shape. Because of its narrow crown, the lower branches remain strong and grow for many years, so it has branches and foliage almost to the ground. The bark of young branches is grayish-orange, but by the time they are 6 years old they become white with slight orange tints. In winter, when the leaves have fallen, that smooth white bark glows through the branch structure, lightening up your garden.
In March or April, the tree is decorated with long catkins, which are the flowers of the tree. These develop in fall, but remain tiny until spring, when they elongate to be up to 4 inches long, hanging in clusters and fluttering in the breezes on the bare stems. The leaves appear by early May, and they are dark green, oval and a little more than 2 inches long, with attractive jagged serrated edges. They hang vertically from the branches, fluttering and rustling in any breeze. In fall the leaves turn butter yellow and the tree looks especially beautiful in that season.
This tree is a perfect specimen for a lawn, alone or planted in a cluster. With its narrow profile you don’t need a large area to grow it on – it’s ideal for a smaller garden, including city gardens. Grow it in the corner of your yard, behind shrubs and other plants, or plant a row, spacing them between 6 and 15 feet, depending on the look you want, as a boundary marker and screen. It can be planted at the back of large shrub beds, and even grown for some years in a large pot or half-barrel.
The Dakota Pinnacle Birch is extremely hardy, making it an ideal choice for northern gardens. It is reliable and undamaged all through zone 3, and grows in zone 7, although there it should be planted with some summer shade, and with a regular supply of water.
Plant the Dakota Pinnacle Birch in full sun or partial shade. The soil should be moist, and it can even be wet, either acidic or slightly alkaline – this variety has good resistance to alkaline soil conditions that adversely affect other birch trees. It will grow well in ordinary garden soil, and unlike some other birch it is not affected by urban pollution, so it grows well in city gardens. In cooler zones it is moderately drought resistant, but less so in warmer areas, where heat and drought stress can contribute to insect damage.
In northern and mid-western areas winds can be strong, but the Dakota Pinnacle Birch has excellent wind resistance, tolerating winds well over 100 miles per hour. This means it can be safely planted in exposed sites or used on the exposed side of a windbreak, perhaps with evergreens planted behind it.
Normally no significant pruning is required, and like all birch it should be pruned, if needed, in summer, not in spring, when it can bleed sap and weaken. Some tree fertilizer in spring will help a young tree achieve its maximum growth rate. Water regularly, especially in hotter zones, and use mulch to keep the roots cool. This tree is relatively resistant to the bronze birch borer, but stress makes it more susceptible. Other minor pests are possible, but they are of no great significance.
The Japanese, white birch, Betula platyphylla, grows in northern Japan, Korea and on the Manchurian peninsula, in Russia and China. It is a close relative of the European silver birch, Betula pendula. In 1986 Arthur A. Boe, a scientist at the North Dakota State University’s Arboretum near Absaraka, collected some seed from a tree of the Japanese white birch that was growing there. The seedlings were planted in a test plot at the University’s campus in Fargo. In 1989 Dale E. Herman spotted a unique slender seedling growing, and it was observed for several years to assess it. In 1992 it was propagated by grafting and tissue culture, to preserve its genetic identity, and distributed to other northern states and to Saskatchewan, Canada, for further trials of its hardiness and borer resistance. Only after this careful testing was it named ‘Fargo’, and patented in 1999. That patent has now expired, but the tree continues to be sold with its trademark name, Dakota Pinnacle®, which is owned by the University and supports further research.
This is such a gorgeous tree that our northern clients need no encouragement to plant it – its value is well known. If you live in the north, your garden simply can’t be without this tree, so order now while our limited stock remains available, and enjoy this beautiful, hardy, and resilient tree in your own garden.