Beeches: Copper Beech

Discussion in 'Fagaceae (beeches, oaks, etc.)' started by rg13rg13, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. rg13rg13

    rg13rg13 Member

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    Where can I purchase a copper beech tree?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    These are commonly sold. For best appearance look for a named selection known to have more purple in the leaves than an unselected one raised from seed may have. Most of the photos used by this outlet on their web site show the actual stock in their nursery.

    http://www.forestfarm.com/search/se...enus&field-keywords=fagus&Go.x=9&Go.y=7&Go=Go

    This specialist shows and describes various kinds here, and also sells some less common choice varieties if you decide you want to acquire one of these.

    http://www.coenosium.com/text800/fagus_sylvatica.htm
     
  3. campegius

    campegius Member

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    Hello everyone, I'm new to this newsgroup. I live in in the country in southern ontario. Brought two purple beech seedlings (about 10" high) home in my suitcase from Newfoundland and planted them in 10" pots for now. Have no idea where to go from here. We have 6 ha hardwood forest (predom sugar maple with scattered american beech) - am tempted to plant one there and the other as a specimen in the yard. Any advice?
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Is Fagus sylvatica hardy there?
     
  5. campegius

    campegius Member

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    The american/white beech certainly is hardy here. We have some +/- 100ft tall in the middle of ourwoods, and several at about 150 yrs old at the edge, though not as tall.
    I have seen purple beech (not sure which variety) specimens (rarely) in cemeteries and one in town (Strathroy) and two in Springbank Park in London ON that are probably over 100 yrs old.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If your site has the same climate conditions as where you have seen old F. sylvatica nearby then apparently that part of it is suitable. Otherwise your new plants will need full sun and good drainage. The latter part is critical with this species.

    And of course room for an eventually monumental tree. Do not plant where a towering, dark specimen would become unpleasant or intrusive. In England F. sylvatica has been found to have these

    LIMITATIONS: Potentially a very large tree casting a dense shade over a wide area this is unsuited to close proximity to buildings. Beech is very sensitive to excess soil moisture and will not grow well in heavy soils nor in damp hollows. Refusing to root into poorly drained horizons, it is, on shallow soils above them, very superficially rooted and becomes unstable. The life of the tree is a little over 200 years and decay and death set in extremely rapidly, due largely to two fungi, Meripilus giganteus and Ganoderma adspersum. It will collapse very rapidly after death and big branches almost rain down. It is not safe even when still apparently healthy but old, and limbs will easily be torn out by winds and may drop even during calm periods. Leaf-fall is heavy and can cause blockages, and male flowers are shed by the million. For establishment in exposure or on chalky hills a nurse tree, Scots pine, Thuya or Lawson cypress is essential. Grey squirrels may severely damage trees by stripping bark when they are 20 - 40-years-old.

    --Mitchell/Jobling, Decorative Trees for Country, Town and Garden (1984, HMSO Books)

    Same reference says 'Purpurea' specifically is

    An assemblage of copper beeches leafing out pale coppery-pink but dull purple-brown for the rest of the season. These are vastly over-planted and discerning plantsmen agree that they should be given a rest and none planted for a few hundred years.

    As with purpleleaf plums, purpleleaf crabapples and others the more recent, consistently deep purple grafted, named selections are more pleasing and visually effective than those becoming coppery, greenish or brown in summer. But in the case of the beech, due to its size it can be a bit much even when of good coloring.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
  7. campegius

    campegius Member

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    Thanks Ron for your replies. Copper Beech appears to be rare in these parts. Soil at our place is hard clay to clay loam (as is the most of our county). In the woods of course there is a layer of black earth under the leafmould. The beech remaining there grow on both the higher and lower ground the largest of them on sloping ground (best surface drainage, I guess).
    Black Walnut grows everywhere here and we are at th northern range of Butternut, I think. Am trying to propagate one at the perimeter of my yard. The leader keeps breaking off (its windy here!)
    I'm always unsure what is considered good drainage. Surface drainage is obvious. Our soil is clay with stones then clay and limestone grit followed by gravel then sand as you dig down. I presume this constitutes good drainage. In summer the surface dries and becomes hard within days to weeks without a rain, and eventually fissures appear. I suppose I should mulch - what is the best thing to use?
    Ken
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If there's gravel and sand underneath you probably have good subsurface drainage at least. While not the same species it seems possible the presence of the native beech on the property indicates suitable soil conditions for the European one - at least in those sections where the native trees are growing well.

    The best mulch is arborist wood chips. You may have to do some sniffing around and make special arrangements to get them, depending on your individual circumstances. If you have a large country place you may not be likely to be able to notice a crew working next door and talk them into dumping on your place when full.
     
  9. campegius

    campegius Member

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    Thanks, Ron.
    I'll let you know how I make out.
    Ken
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Post photos in about 50-100 years. Here we have a few beeches dating from the 19th century that are already over 100' tall. A copper one in Everett, WA was 119' tall with a trunk 16' around by 1993.
     
  11. campegius

    campegius Member

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    I should live to see shade, let alone ....
    But I'll post some next week of the ones we have - when I find them (the fotos).
    Ken
     

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