European Beech Tree, Fagus sylvatica, has outstanding fall color. European beech trees are magnificient long-lived trees highly valued for their smooth gray bark and attractive glossy green leaves that turn golden bronze in fall. Find facts and information on growing and caring for European beech trees.
Facts and Info on European Beech Trees
European beech trees grow in Zones (4) 5-7 in sun to light shade. They take on an oval form that reaches up to 55’. It will grow to around 40’ wide. It is often used as a specimen tree or an accent Iarge yards. It also makes a good hedge because it can withstand heavy pruning. The shallow root system and dense shade makes it difficult to grow grass and other plants under mature trees.
It is not tolerant of salt or pollution and should not be planted near streets. Grow it in protected sites in Zone 4. It prefers moist, well-drained, acid soil in full sun but will tolerate light shade and a wide range of soils. It does not like wet soils.
Care of European Beeches
You should mulch around the trees to protect the bark from lawn mowers and string trimmers. Water young trees when the top 2” of soil has dried out. Try to avoid overfeeding because it may result in succulent growth that is attractive to aphids. Pruning can be done on young trees in summer to help establish a straight, upright trunk. The shallow, wide root system does not like compacted soils and is easily damaged by heavy construction vehicles. Protect large trees by installing temporary barrier fencing or some other type of barrier.
Propagation: Stratify seeds for 3-5 months or sow them in fall. Cuttings are difficult to root.
Pests and Diseases: Aphids can be a problem on young trees during hot, dry, periods, but will not do any serious damage.
Other Related Species:
‘Asplenifolia’ has fernlike foliage.
‘Pendula’ has weeping branches.
‘Riversii’ has purple foliage into summer.
‘Atripunicea’ also sold as ‘Purpurea’, has leaves of black-red to purple-green.
*American Beech ( F. Grandiflora) has larger leaves and is more hardy.