Heritage River Birch

Betula nigra 'Cully' (PP#4,409)

7 Reviews

Heritage River Birch

Betula nigra 'Cully' (PP#4,409)

7 Reviews


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


Heritage™ Birch is a small to medium-sized tree that grows no more than 30 feet tall. This tree quickly grows into a picturesque specimen that will grace your garden with beauty and charm. It adds 2 feet a year, or even 3 feet a year in warmer areas, rapidly maturing into a beautiful tree in any garden. It has attractive bark in brown and tan, that is constantly peeling and curling away to reveal cream and white bark beneath. The delicate oval leaves hang from slightly-pendulous branches, casting only light shade. In fall the leaves turn glowing shades of pale gold. It grows in zone 4 through zone 9, and it is especially useful for wet, clay soils, growing even in flooded areas, while also thriving in ordinary garden conditions.

  • Top-choice birch tree for hotter areas
  • Very attractive bark in brown, tan, cream and white
  • Grows well in wet soil, and in heavy clay too
  • Smaller, airy tree for small gardens
  • Fast-growing for early maturity

Plant the Heritage™ Birch in full sun, and water it well while it is young, for the fastest growth. Unlike other birch trees, this tree does not suffer from the insect pests that shorten the life of other birch, so this easy tree will thrive and prosper for years and years, with no trouble at all. It has a naturally-denser branching structure than the common river birch, which is its parent, so it is much less prone to breakage from wind and ice. This lovely tree will grace any garden with its special beauty – while growing quickly and being easy to grow too.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-9
Mature Width 25
Mature Height 25-30
Sun Needs Full Sun
Zones 4-9

Birch trees have a special charm, and they are one of the fastest-growing trees, so they are ideal for new, treeless gardens, where they will quickly bring a mature look, while other, slower-growing trees develop. Planting birch has been a problem in the past, because many people planted the white birch – a beautiful tree, but one very prone to insect attack and early death. If you love birch trees, but you want to plant a healthy tree with a long life, there is a solution. It is the river birch, a different species which is resistant to insect attack, and will live a full life.

Wild river birch trees do not have particularly attractive bark, but the Heritage™ Birch Tree does. This selected form features bark which flakes away in large sheets, creating a very textured and appealing look. the outer bark is colored brown to tan, and as it peels away it reveals the inner bark, which is very different, in shades of creamy white to white. This tree is strikingly beautiful, and it never looks quite the same, as the bark is shed in an irregular fashion, creating ever-changing random patterning.

The Heritage™ Birch Tree has other advantages too. The leaves are a little larger than in the wild tree, creating a bolder look, and even more importantly, this form is much faster growing than wild trees, which is exactly what you want for the quick development which is so desirable with birch trees. It is also a little hardier than the wild species, thriving in zone 4, but also growing into the warmest zones. This ability to grow in hot, humid areas is unique to the Heritage Birch, since other types of birch tree prefer much cooler, northern areas. If you live further south, this is the birch tree for your garden.

Growing the Heritage™ Birch

Size and Appearance

The Heritage™ Birch is a medium-sized tree that usually reaches 25 or 30 feet in height, with a width of about 15 to a maximum of 25 feet across. It takes several decades for a tree to reach this width. Very old trees growing in rich, wet soil, may sometimes grow bigger than these dimensions, but very rarely do that in gardens. The leaves are about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide, in a triangular-oval shape, pointed toward the tip. They are edged in tiny soft teeth. In fall the leaves turn a wonderful shade of soft yellow, like a glowing candle in the sun. Older trees flower in early spring, before the leaves appear. Charming golden clusters of flowers, in narrow, hanging structures 2-3 inches long called ‘catkins’, hang down from the branches. These add a lovely spring touch to your garden.

Using the Heritage™ Birch in Your Garden

Heritage™ Birch very soon becomes a graceful tree you will love to see on your property. Its branches hang down a little at the ends, creating a soft, slightly pendulous profile. Birch trees have a ‘light’ look that is unique among deciduous trees. The thin twigs and small, hanging leaves make for a light, airy tree, very different from the solid mass of maple or oak. In small our medium-sized gardens they don’t dominate the garden, or create areas of dense shade, preventing you from growing other plants in your limited gardening space. As well, their root systems don’t find a way into sewage pipes, or under your foundations, so you are safe from the structural damage that can be caused by trees planted near to pipes or too close to buildings.

The trunks of birch trees tend to be slim, and a single tree has only so much appeal. You might want to consider planting three of these trees in the same hole, spacing them about 12 inches apart. This creates a beautiful clump of stems, which grow outwards a little in elegant and varied ways, giving you a unique tree that you will love.

Plant your Heritage™ Birch 15 feet or more from a building, swimming pool or septic system and 8 feet from a driveway. For a boundary row or along a stream, allow 8 to 12 feet between the trees – it depends how dense a screen you want to have.


Wild river birch are not found north of zone 6, but in gardens the Heritage™ Birch is hardy in zone 4. It is also a variety that will grow in hot areas, where most birch fail, so it can be safely grown even in zone 9.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Most trees need good drainage, but the Heritage Birch grows naturally along river banks, so it thrives in damp, and even wet, soil, including heavy clays. This makes it ideal for wetter parts of your garden, along a stream, or by a pond. It also grows very well in regular soil, so wet or normal, your soil type does not prevent you growing this tree.

Maintenance and Pruning

Safe from pests, and not likely to develop diseases, the Heritage™ Birch is easy to grow. You can leave the branches to the ground, or remove side branches while they are still small – to avoid scars – so that you can really enjoy the beauty of the trunk. Otherwise no care is needed.

History and Origin of the Heritage™ Birch

The River Birch, Betula nigra, is an American native tree growing throughout the east, from New Jersey to Georgia and from Texas to Nebraska. In the wild it doesn’t grow further north than zone 6, but in gardens it has proved to be completely hardy throughout zone 4. In the early 1970s, Earl Cully, who had a tree nursery in St. Louis, Missouri, found an interesting birch tree growing on his land. He let it grow taller and found it had much more colorful bark than his other trees did. He also found the leaves were larger, the branching structure denser, and that the tree was less likely to be damaged by wind and ice. He patented his new tree (PP#4,409, now expired), and he called it ‘Cully’. It went on to be sold in nurseries with the trademark name of Heritage™.

Buying the Heritage™ Birch at the Tree Center

Heritage™ Birch is a dependable and easy to grow tree that is ideal for new properties, smaller gardens, and in wetter locations. This tree is always in high demand and finding stock of this exact variety is not easy. Order now, while that limited stock is still available.

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Heritage River Birch

Betula nigra 'Cully' (PP#4,409)

7 Reviews