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Tree of the Month: Dura-Heat® Birch

By Len Phillips, ASLA Emeritus


Trade Name: Dura-Heat® Birch (previously known as ‘Moonshine’ River Birch)

Botanical Name: Betula nigra ‘BNMTF’

Family: Betulaceae

Parentage: A chance seedling by Dwayne Moon of Moon’s Tree Farm

Year of Introduction: 2000

Height: 35 to 40 feet

Spread: 25 to 30 feet

Form: Broadly pyramidal

Flower: Brownish-green catkins

Fruit: Small brown nutlet

Foliage: Deep green, healthy foliage, denser canopy than other River Birch selections

Spring Color: Light green leaves after catkins

Summer Foliage: Heat resistant foliage that is glossy and deep green

Autumn Foliage: Butter yellow

Winter Color: Beautiful bark all winter

Bark: Exfoliating bark of white, salmon to cinnamon colors, begins at young age

Habitat: East coast to upper Midwest

Culture: Well drained, moist, acidic soil

Site Requirements: Full sun is preferred

Hardiness Zone*: 4 – 9

Growth Rate: Fast, full size in 20 years

Pest Resistance: Aphid, leaf spot, and Bronze Birch Borer resistant, basically trouble-free

Storm Resistance: Excellent


Photos provided by J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.Salt Resistance: Good to fair

Planting: Transplant B&B or container, bare root transplanting is moderately difficult

Pruning: Prune at planting and 3 years later to mature form but not in late winter to spring

Propagating: Softwood cuttings in summer

Design Uses: Outstanding selection for residential or commercial landscapes

Companions: Best in groves of three to five trees with evergreens and ferns as groundcovers

Other Comments: A superior new selection, similar to and more heat tolerant than ‘Heritage’ River Birch

Available From: Most nurseries


* For information about the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, visit www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/index.html


These are the personal observations of the author, living in New England – Zone 5b. Len Phillips can be reached via e-mail at lenphillips@on-line-seminars.com

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