How to grow beech nut trees from seeds

Updated June 13, 2017

The American beech tree is a popular ornamental and shade tree. It is known to have beautiful fall colours ranging from gold to deep copper. Growing a beech nut tree from seed can be a challenge, but armed with the right information, success is far more likely. Follow the steps below to start beech trees from seeds in the Midwestern United States.

Find a healthy, successful beech tree that is growing within a 100-mile radius of the intended planting site in order to ensure that the tree is suitable for the climate in which it will grow. Collect the seeds between mid-September and late November when they are fully mature and begin falling from the tree. Select ripe beech tree seeds, which have brown husks beginning to open. Take seeds that have just fallen from the tree or about to fall.

Prepare a seedbed by raking or turning over an area of sandy loam soil. You should have drainage conditions, soil texture and pH similar to the site where the parent beech nut tree grows.

Sew the seed in the fall just after collecting. Scatter 50 to 80 seeds per square foot in the seedbad and then cover with about half an inch of dirt. Keeping the seeds in the ground over winter like this will encourage germination come spring. Prevent rodents from getting in the seedbed by covering it with a mesh hardwire cloth, but remove it in early spring before the seeds begin to grow.

Provide 50 per cent shade for the seedlings through the first half of the summer. Do not allow weeds to grow in the seedbed. You do not want weeds competing with the seedlings for moisture or nutrients. Rodents and deer may also be a threat to seedlings. Consider using tree shelters to prevent animals from damaging or consuming the tender seedlings.

Thin beech nut tree seedlings to a maximum of 45 stems in 1 square foot when the seedlings are 1 year old. Any seedlings that need to be removed can be transplanted to a designated permanent location or simply discarded.

Transplant the remaining seedlings from the seedbed to their intended home when the seedlings are 2 years old. Water the young trees every week unless there is adequate rainfall. Enjoy watching your beech nut trees grow.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden rake
  • Spade
  • Mesh hardwire cloth
  • Tree shelters (optional)
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Ann Wolters has been a writer, consultant and writing coach since 2008. Her work has appeared in "The Saint Paul Almanac" and in magazines such as "Inventing Tomorrow" and "Frontiers." She earned a Master of Arts in English as a second language from the University of Minnesota.