Common Name: oasis birch
Species: B. papyrifera 'Oenci'
Hardiness Zone: 2 to 6
Height: 50 to 70 ft
Width: 25 to 50 ft
A new and distinct cultivar of Betula papyrifera named ‘Oenci’, or oasis birch, is a very fast-growing tree that has a broad dense pyramidal or oval shape to its canopy. The bark of younger trees and branches will be mahogany-like reddish-brown. As the trees mature they will exfoliate to reveal a distinct bright white bark like that of traditional paper birch. Leaves are simple and grow alternately on the stem. They are oval or heart-shaped, pointed at the tip, and rounded at the base. They have an irregularly serrate margin and are a dark green color in summer and yellow in the fall.
Where it grows:
Prefers moderately moist, well-drained sites. Can tolerate the occasional flooding as well as extensive drought. Unlike other birch trees, oasis birch is tolerant of alkaline soils. Prefers full sun to partial shade.
How it’s used:
Used in the landscape as a shade tree in yards or parks. Can be used in the boulevard but may suffer due to salt spray.
Small mammals and birds will utilize this tree as a habitat and food source
Where it is native to:
Native to the northern United States. They prefer cool summers.
This tree was bred to have an increased resistance to the bronze birch borer. It could experience issues with leaf miners and canker. Chlorosis (yellowing) may occur in high pH soils.