River Birch in Weeping Form
are always looking for plants that are new and different. Many
cultivars of plants are developed but few gain marketplace popularity.
A new type of river birch, 'Summer Cascade,' looks to be one of
those special plants that is unique enough to make its mark in
North Carolina landscapes.
'Summer Cascade' is a weeping form of river birch that was discovered
by John and Danny Allen at Shiloh Nursery in Harmony, N.C. The
river birch is one of our landscape mainstays with its handsome
peeling bark, and a weeping form promises something really special.
Because of their unique growth habit, weeping plants are often
used as specimen plants in the landscape. River birch, like many
native plants, is very dependable and has few major pest problems.
'Summer Cascade' is considered to be a fast grower. It will form
a mounded shrub or small tree if left untrained or it can be provided
with trunk support and trained into a tree form.
The development of this tree is a good example of how significant
achievements can be realized when a private business and a land-grant
university work together. Shiloh Nursery worked with Dr. Tom Ranney,
an N.C. State researcher at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research
Station in Fletcher, to determine how easily the plant could be
propagated. Plants that are difficult for nurserymen to propagate
are likely to be limited in commercial availability regardless
of how many features they possess. Dr. Ranney found that 'Summer
Cascade' can be rooted easily from stem cuttings.
A number of North Carolina nurseries are now growing 'Summer Cascade.'
Specimens can be seen at the JC
Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, the Mountain
Horticultural Crops Research Station in Fletcher and
Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. Widespread availability
is expected in a couple of years so Carolina gardeners can enjoy
this exciting new introduction.
Photos 'Summer Cascade'
Photos by Thomas G. Ranney