The American beech tree is the only species of the genus Fagus grandifolia to live in North America. It is a slow-growing deciduous tree that produces edible, triangular-shaped nuts. Beech wood is also valued because it is pliable, making it a good choice for furniture and flooring. Growing beech trees is relatively easy whether you are starting the plant from seed, or beginning with an established seedling.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Planting container
- Peat-free compost
- Spray bottle
- Organic gardening soil
- Chicken wire or hardware cloth
- Gardening wire
Fill a small container with an even mixture of sand and compost that does not contain peat moss. Place the seed nut into the compost-sand mixture at a depth 1 1/2 times the length of the nut.
Place the container outside in a secure location during the fall or winter. The container should be protected from strong winds, rain, full sun and harsh winter frosts. A location with partial to full shade is ideal.
Mist the compost-sand mixture with a spray bottle to ensure the mixture is damp, but not saturated with water.
Cover the container with chicken wire or hardware cloth to ensure the nut does not fall prey to a passing squirrel, bird or rodent looking for a meal. Check the container often to ensure the compost-sand mixture has not eroded from the top of the nut seed and that the mixture remains moist.
Growing from Seed
Plant the seedling tree when it is 10 to 20 inches tall. The location should be in full sun, though the tree will also tolerate partial shade as well.
Dig a hole at least 12 to 18 inches deep and 24 to 30 inches in diameter, using a shovel. Fill the hole with an even mixture of compost, sand and organic gardening soil to create a well-drained growing area.
Place the beech nut seedling into the centre of the hole, ensuring that the entire root system is secure beneath the soil. Use a small stake and soft gardening wire to stake the tree upright.
Till the soil regularly to ensure that it does not become compacted. Monitor the tree to ensure that the soil remains moist, but not wet.
Growing Young Trees
Tips and warnings
- Use chicken-wire or hardware cloth to create a small cage around seedling trees to protect them from wildlife.
- Do not prune the tree excessively as it grows, as it could be fatal.
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