Beech trees are a large, deciduous tree, native to southern England and South Wales.
Scientific name: Fagus sylvatica Family: Fagaceae
Beech trees can live for hundreds of years with coppiced stands living for more than 1,000 years.
Mature beech trees grow to a height of more than 40m and develop a huge domed crown. The reddish brown, torpedo-shaped leaf buds form on short stalks, and have a distinctive criss-cross pattern.
Leaves: young beech leaves are lime green with silky hairs, which become darker green and lose their hairs as they mature. They are 4–9cm long, stalked, oval and pointed at the tip, with a wavy edge.
Flowers: beech trees are monoecious, meaning both male and female flowers grow on the same tree, in April and May. The tassel-like male catkins hang from long stalks at the end of twigs, while female flowers grow in pairs, surrounded by a cup.
Fruits: the cup becomes woody once pollinated, and encloses one or two beech nuts (known as beechmast). Beech is wind pollinated.
Plant beech trees in a good, rich, acidic soil that isn’t compacted. Dig the planting hole two to three times wider than the root ball to loosen the soil around the planting area. This encourages the roots to spread into the surrounding soil rather than staying in the hole. Newly planted beech trees need plenty of moisture. Mature trees withstand moderate drought. Spread a 2 or 3 inch layer of mulch over the root zone of young trees to help the soil retain moisture.
Beech trees need regular fertilization. Spread the fertilizer over the root zone and then water it in.