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COMMON NAMES:  Beech, American Beech, Carolina Beech, Gray Beech, Red Beech, Ridge Beech White Beech, Winter Beech.

BOTANICAL NAME:  Fagus grandifolia.

FAMILY:  Fagaceae (Beech Family).

CHARACTERISTICS:  Large growing deciduous shade tree for full sun.

HEIGHT:  90-100 feet

SPREAD:  50-70 feet

FINAL SPACING:  30-50 feet. Shallow root system.

BARK:  Very smooth, pale and gray. Growth buds have yellow tint and resemble bullets.

FOLIAGE:  leaves are bright green and about 3 inches long, starting wide and getting smaller and smaller coming to the tip. Leaves have distinct cross veins and toothed edges.

FLOWERS AND FRUIT:  Pollen flowers and seed flowers on the same tree. Seed flowers are small clusters 2-4 inches in the axils of the leaves. Pollen flowers in ball-like clusters at the end of the long stalks. They appear as the leaves unfold. Nuts can be harvested and sold for food. Nuts are triangular and range in size from 3/4 inch to 1 inch long usually in pairs with a bristly reddish-brown husk opening into four parts.

HABITAT:  Most of the eastern and southeastern parts of the United States and is common to forests in Maine and northern Massachusetts. Zones 2-7.

MANAGEMENT:  Grows best in deep rich, moist well-drained soils. Seeds germinate very early in the spring.

POSSIBLE PROBLEMS:  Difficult to grow anything under this tree because of the dense shade and the shallow roots system. Does not tolerate urban life very well because of carbon monoxide sensitivity.

PROPAGATION:  Seed is the most common method. Root graphs and cuttings sometimes used. Stratification in a damp environment at 41 degrees for 60-90 days is helpful. Adding Garrett Juice will reduce the time requirement.

NOTES:  Wood is used for furniture such as cabinets, benches, tables and stools. Used to make paper. Animals feed on the nuts that grow on this tree. Copper Beech - Fagus sylvatica is a form of European beech that has copper or purple colored foliage. Fagus sylvatica 'Cuprea', which has somewhat lighter-colored leaves than 'Purpurea'. The trees are native to Europe and have been imported into the United States since Colonial times. Copper beech trees are deciduous trees that have a broad pyramid shape. They can live to be more than 120 years old. Smooth, gray bark with elephant-hide appearance. Flowering typically occurs between April and May. These trees usually have short trunks with branches that often touch the ground. Leaves are dark glossy green with a reddish tint and tend to persist through the winter. Nuts are enclosed in a spiky capsule. Stems are olive brown. Shallow wide root system and grow slowly. Require little maintenance but has low tolerance for overly wet soils. Grow best in exposure to full sunlight. Soils should be moist, well-draining and acidic. Grass does not usually grow under a copper beech tree because of the amount of shade created by the tree. Pest problems can include powdery mildew, aphids, canker and beech bark disease. These trees are reported to be difficult to transplant.


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