yellow birch
Betula alleghaniensis

Yellow birch is the most useful of North American birches, appreciated for its wood quality, its ability to provide wildlife with sustenance, and its attractive, pale golden, exfoliating bark.

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Light Fall Color Water
Growth   Size

Timber Value

      Yellow birch is used for lumber, veneer, paneling, plywood, cabinets, boxes, interior doors. It is also used in the distillation of wood alcohol, acetate of lime, charcoal, tar, and oils.


Wildlife Value
      Important browse plant for moose and deer. Many other species feed on seeds, catkins, buds, and sap.
          Attracts: red squirrels, porcupines, songbirds, grouse snowshoe hares, deer, moose

Regeneration methods
      Due to moderate shade tolerance, less than that of common associates (sugar maple, American beech, and hemlock), yellow birch requires methods that allow for ample light to reach the forest floor. Shelterwoods and patch clearcuts are suitable.

Important Problems Early Detection tips
bronze birch borer top branches die back

Fun facts
Yellow birch wood is used for furniture and veneer. The bark peels are flammable, and can be used to start a fire - even when wet. Seeds often germinate on stumps, which later rot away leaving a tree supported by "stilts".
Betula: Latin (pitch - bitumen is distilled from the bark or Sanskrit "bhurja" (to shine" (bark))) / alleghaniensis: of the Alleghany region
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2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.

questions, comments, and criticisms: email John.Peterson@vt.edu