Renaissance Oasis® BirchBetula papyrifera 'Oenci' (PP# 12,766)
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Betula papyrifera 'Oenci' (PP# 12,766)
Outdoor Growing zone
The Renaissance Oasis Birch tree is the result of 30 years of breeding, to give us a beautiful white birch, with a gorgeous peeling trunk, that is very highly resistant to bronze birch borer, and resistant to drought too. It is fast-growing, reaching 25 feet in 10 years, with a pyramidal crown of handsome leaves that turn orange-yellow in fall. The perfect choice for a first tree in a new garden, especially in colder zones, this tree will stand for many, many years, eventually reaching around 50 feet tall, and remain untroubled, but always beautiful.
Plant your Renaissance Oasis Birch in a sunny place, on moist, well-drained soils. Water regularly, especially when young. It tolerates alkaline soil, clay, areas periodically flooded, and salt-spray and salt runoff as well. Drought tolerant when established, and reliable in zone 7. Highly resistant to bronze birch borer, and tolerant of leaf-miner and other pests. Remove lower branches early, to avoid scarring the beautiful trunk.
It used to be that moving into a new home meant planting a birch tree. Fast-growing, easy-care and attractive all year round, our streets were filled with these handsome trees. But then problems arrived, in the shape of two nasty pests – the birch borer, which would rapidly kill trees, and birch leaf-miner, which made them unsightly, turning their leaves to dry paper. Soon our birch trees faded away, and people stopped planting them, especially the white birch, whose beautiful bark in winter is as bright as the snow. Plant breeders are a stubborn bunch, though, and thanks to the tireless work of Thomas Pinney, Jr and his family, at their Evergreen Nursery in Wisconsin, we can start planting again. At the beginning of this century he introduced his Renaissance birch trees, and the one he called Renaissance Oasis is a real winner. It is highly resistant to both birch borer and leaf-miner, so forget about those nasty problems, and sleep easy. Very fast-growing and vigorous, within a few years your bare lot will have a full size tree (or several) that will beautify your yard even if you do nothing much more, or become the foundation will other, slower trees grow to establish your mature garden. This tree has a beautiful pyramidal shape, develops its bright white bark very early, and turns wonderful shades of orange-yellow in fall. A splendid tree that really does mark the rebirth of white birch in our gardens.
The Renaissance Oasis Birch is a pyramidal to oval, upright deciduous tree with a tall, straight trunk. It is very fast-growing, establishing very quickly in your garden and growing at least 4 feet a year, and sometimes as much as 6 feet a year. This means that within 10 short years it will be about 25 feet tall and around 15 feet wide. It will continue to grow, more slowly now, eventually reaching 50 feet and even more. You can expect it to live around 75 years. It soon develops a clear section of trunk, and while young, and on young twigs no more than 3 inches in diameter, the bark is mahogany reddish-brown. So will the young trunk be, but don’t worry, this variety becomes white quicker than most other white birch, and within a few year the trunk and older branches will be beautiful snowy-white, with some black markings. Older trunks have long peeling strips of bark, which reveal bright pink-beige new bark. That soon turn white too. At any time of the year the trunk is beautiful.
In spring clusters of hanging greenish-yellow catkins appear before the leaves, once your tree is a few years old, and these make a charming early spring sight, fluttering in the breezes. Leaves soon appear, and these are pointed ovals, on long stalks, with deeply serrated edges. Leaves are 3 to 5 inches long, and 1½ to 3 inches across. The long stalks allow them to flutter in the breeze, flashing the lighter green of their undersides. In fall the leaves turn yellow to orange-yellow, making a striking fall display. The delicate spreading twigs are dark brown, and look attractive in winter.
With its rapid growth, this tree is ideal for new gardens, or for treeless open land – it’s a handsome quick fix. It looks beautiful on a lawn, planted alone, or in a small grove or two or three trees – plant them close together and they make a superb clump, or space them further apart for a casual, woody look. A row, spaced 10 to 15 feet apart makes an attractive boundary marker or summer screen. You can even grow it in a large pot for some years, and it would look great on a terrace, deck or even a large balcony.
The Renaissance Oasis Birch is ideal for cold to warm parts of the country. It grows happily in zone 3 – and would likely grow in zone 2 as well. It is also more drought tolerant than other white birch, and will grow well in zone 7.
Plant this tree in full sun, where it will grow best. As long as it has at least 6 hours of direct sun year-round, it will take a bit of early morning or late afternoon shade. It grows in any ordinary garden soil, doing best in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soils. This variety is more tolerant of alkaline soils than others, and is usually happy on clay and even in areas periodically flooded. It isn’t very tolerant of inner-city areas, but thrives in suburbs and the country. Once established it is more drought-resistant than most white birch, and also tolerates some road-salt and salt runoff.
You don’t have to worry about the bronze birch borer, which kills so many white birch, because this tree has been bred and selected to be virtually immune. It also has moderate resistance to leaf miner, which is not-fatal anyway, so any damage will be minimal and hardly noticed. It also resists leafhoppers, and other pests or diseases are insignificant.
The American white birch, Betula papyrifera is one of our most beautiful native trees, noted for its thin white bark. It is also called paper birch and canoe birch. It grows all across Canada, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, in northern states and further south in mountains. Starting in the 1970s the Evergreen Nursery Company of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, began breeding and selecting white birch for resistance to pests, especially the deadly bronze birch borer. They grew many trees from seed and then planted them in different places. One group was planted in New Carlisle, Ohio in 1986. In 1999 Thomas Pinney, Jr., now head of the family business, selected some trees from that group, and these became the Renaissance series. All are highly resistant to birch borer, but one, named ‘Oenci’ and christened as the trademark Renaissance Oasis, was extra good, with good drought and heat resistance too, and good growth on alkaline soils. He patented it in 2002.
This break-through tree has taken nurseries and gardens by storm, and become the ‘go-to’ birch tree everywhere. Sadly this means that supplies are very limited. Our trees are produced by grafting, and are 100% identical to that first tree. Cheaper seedlings simply won’t cut it. Order now, as we already have a waiting list for this tree, so our stock won’t last long.