Tsuga canadensis #2 (Eastern Hemlock)September 30, 2022
Quercus alba #5 (White Oak)September 30, 2022
Fagus grandifolia #2 (American Beech)
-Part Shade, Full Shade, Full Sun
-Moist, Well-Drained Soil (FACU)
-Acidic, Adaptable pH
-50-80′ Tall by 40-80′ Wide
-Wide-Spreading Crown and Suckering habit
-Inconspicuous Flowers in April, May
-Deer, Black Walnut tolerant
-Edible Nuts, Dye from Leaves/Bark
Out of stock
American Beech is a majestic, large native tree, and a climax species of the eastern North American forests. It begins life under the canopy of its cohabitants: often oaks, maples, hickories, Yellow Birch, American Basswood, Eastern White Pine, and Black Cherry. They have a slow growth rate, averaging 9-12′ over 10 years, but are able to continue this growth in the shade of other trees. Once a Beech reaches the canopy, it takes over the light with its dense, wide-spreading crown of overlapping leaves.
It begins to produce beechnuts at around 40 years old, and by 60 it is capable of producing huge quantities of this massively important food for wildlife. Beechnuts are high in fat and protein and are a preferred food for numerous birds and mammals. It was once the favorite food of the now extinct Passenger Pigeon: “So together they fell, bird and tree, from their supreme place in the history of American Nature. For after the Beech forests were swept away by the man with the ax and plow, the fate of the passenger pigeon, the most marvelous bird on the North American continent, perhaps in the world, was sealed.” (Peattie, pg. 164)
American Beech trees have distinctively smooth blue-gray bark and a shallow but wide, branching root system. It is a master of vegetative growth and in time, can sprout an entire colony from its roots. This makes it an unwise choice for a landscape that has limited space for this giant to roam. Grass does not grow well under Beeches due to the surface roots, and Beeches do not respond well to root disturbance. They do very well planted in rich and fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun to full shade. They look magical when planted in groves and naturalized in large areas, and American Beech is vastly underused in these types of situations. “Plant more American Beech!” writes Michael Dirr when referencing its usefulness as formal plantings that are pleached into an arching framework over a path.
Aside from its many ornamental qualities and plentiful mast for wildlife, Fagus grandifolia also hosts some 116 species of Lepidoptera including the Early Hairstreak and many of the same insects that rely on Oak trees, which are superb companion trees.
Native Trees, Shrubs, & Vines by William Cullina
Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by Michael A. Dirr
Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees by Charlotte Adelman & Bernard L. Schwartz
A Natural History of North American Trees by Donald Culross Peattie
USDA Forest Service
Missouri Botanical Garden
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
The Morton Arboretum-Black Walnut Tolerance