American Beech

Fagus grandifolia - American Beech

Family - Fagaceae

Size - 50 to 70 feet in height. Spread can be equal or greater. Solitary trees assume a wide spread. Medium rate of growth becoming slower with age. The trunk can be massive, and short in relation to the tree, especially on old trees.

Foliage - Simple, coarsly serrated. Gloosy green in summer. Fall color is a bronze, the leaves turning tan and persisiting in to winter.

Flower/Fruit/Seed - Nut, enclosed by a prickly involucre. About 1/2" in length.

Bark - Gray and cream colored mottled tones on younger trees, very ornamental. On old trees, the bark becomes very dark gray and is smooth.

Pests and Diseases - Several cankers, scale, borers and aphids are reported to be potential problems, but in 10 years I've noticed no problems at all.

Landscape Use - Large and imposing tree in old age thus appropriate for large areas. Beech can be expected to live 200 to 300 years or longer. Gives a very "noble" atmosphere with it's prescence. Can create a heavy shade and is difficult to grow anything under. Some of the largest I've seen are in Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky. They are trees of massive proportions, some being well over 200 years old.

Performance - 9 Can be grown in full sun or shade. Many that are found in Beech forests are generally in bottomland areas although they won't withstand wet soils, and will not tolerate compaction being shallow rooted. Zones 3 to 9. It's one downfall is a Beech tree has always been a favorite through the centuries for carving ones initials and other epithets in.