European white birch (Not recommended)

European white birch in winter.

Due to susceptibility to bronze birch borer (BBB), European white birch is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually require removal and/or replacement. This tree has an attractive pendulous habit. European white birch was once used extensively in landscapes, but its high susceptibility to the bronze birch borer has limited its use in more recent years.

Botanical name:

Betula pendula

All Common Names:

European white birch, silver birch, warty birch, weeping birch

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Size Range:

  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

Mature Height:

40-50 feet

Mature Width:

20-35 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 2,
  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Intolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Tolerant

Ornamental Interest:

  • Spring blossoms,
  • Attractive bark

Season of Interest:

  • Early winter,
  • Mid winter,
  • Late winter,
  • Early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Oval,
  • Pyramidal

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

  • Yes

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Avoid pruning in spring as birches are bleeders and will lose large quantities of sap.

Disease, pests, and problems

Use of this tree is limited by its susceptibility to bronze birch borer.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Europe and Northern Asia.

Bark color and texture 

This species has white bark that peels slightly.
On older trees, the trunk becomes black.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves; 1 to 3 inches long.
Dark green leaves are rhomboid in shape.  Leaf margins are double serrated, leaf tip is long and pointed
Fall color is yellow to yellow-green.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Inconspicuous;  male flowers in cylindrical catkins; females also in a cylindrical structure, but much smaller.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruits are small, winged nutlets held in pendulous catkins.




Location of Betula pendula (European white birch (Not recommended)) at the Arboretum