Plant of the Week: 'Golden Treasure' Dwarf Birch

Plant of the Week: 'Golden Treasure' dwarf birch from Proven Winners

We're in the midst of some chilly, rainy weather, and the meteorologists are muttering about snow for the weekend. It's time to admit that winter is upon us and that we're in Zone 5. It could be worse: we could be in USDA Zone 2. But if we were in Zone 2, we could still grow this plant!

Seriously! Betula 'Golden Treasure' is a tough little plant with exceptional hardiness. The sunny yellow foliage is a cheery addition to cold climate gardens and will show tones of orange and red in the new growth. It gets 2-4' tall and wide and grows in full sun or partial shade.

While it has a delightful natural habit, you can trim it closely if you like a more controlled look. In fact, do us a favor and give your pruner-happy friends some of these to trim so they'll let their lilacs grow in peace. I saw some dwarf Korean lilacs in Chicago this fall that had been pruned into submission. It was sad. Remember, right plant, right place (and right person). Some people just need to prune.

'Golden Treasure' dwarf birch from Proven Winners
Leave it wild or keep it close: 'Golden Treasure' can be shaped, sheared, hedged, or trained into a miniature patio tree.

Betula is a great group of plants.

Whether trees or more of a shrub form like 'Golden Treasure', they are a real delight in northern climates.

Did you know you can make syrup from birches? It's like maple syrup, only made from birch sap rather than maple sap. You can also just drink the sap.

Betula papyrifera is a beautiful tree that grows happily in most of Michigan. It will grow further south, but generally isn't very happy in Zone 7. You'll just have to visit us in the North to really see them at their best.

'Golden Treasure' dwarf birch from Proven Winners
Add it to your wish list: 'Golden Treasure' will be available at retail in spring 2017.
I like the way birches choose nice places to grow: forest glades, alongside streams, and in mountains. Yet they still will come and join us in more manicured settings. Fox Valley® Betula nigra is a nice little cultivar for anyone who wants to bring a bit of the hiking trail into their own backyard. I think I will add a 'Golden Treasure' or two to my landscape next season, too.

Finally, one of our nation's literary treasures, Robert Frost, wrote a lovely poem about birches. Maybe it's more about life than birches, but it's a fine reminder of the possibilities that plants give us.

"One could do worse than be a swinger of birches."

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles

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