How to Grow Beech Trees

Written by lisa lavergne
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How to Grow Beech Trees
A beech tree is easy to grow from seed or a seedling. (purple beech tree image by Karen Hadley from

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
  • Sand
  • Spray bottle
  • Shovel
  • Organic gardening soil
  • Chicken wire or hardware cloth
  • Stake
  • Gardening wire

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    Growing from Seed

  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    Mist the compost-sand mixture with a spray bottle to ensure the mixture is damp, but not saturated with water.

  4. 4

    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 Young Trees

  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

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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