TREES & plants

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.




Betula pendula or European white birch (Not recommended)