Fagus Sylvatica (Beech)- One of the UK’s most majestic native trees. Growing up to 25meters in height, the common beech is a large and proud tree. Its distinctive smooth and thin silvery-grey bark, which is pattered with fine horizontal etchings, supports a large, dense rounded dome crown. The heavily branched crown bares dark green oval shaped leaves, each with a pointed tip and crimped edges. The leaves turn a crisp copper colour in the autumn and do not drop, meaning that the beech tree provides year round colour, as well as a permanent screen. Beech is a shade tolerant tree and beech woodlands are characterised by their shady and dark nature, which often prevents much else from growing under a beech tree canopy. A highly desirable hedging plant which also makes a lovely standalone specimen tree. Beech is also worthy of inclusion in most woodland planting schemes, with its seed and mast attracting birds and squirrels.
Fruit: The flowers are surrounded by a cup, which takes on a woody texture when pollinated. The cup encloses either one or two seeds, also known as beech mast. Once used to fatten pigs, cattle and poultry.
Timber: The timber is strong and hard with a fine grain, favoured for furniture making. The wood from a beech tree burns well, making good firewood.
Soil Type/Habitat: Beech grows best on well drained, dry soils. Heavy clay soils must be avoided. Will grow well in most conditions. Shade tolerant but with a slow growth rate.