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Green Beech - Fagus sylvatica

Green Beech - Fagus sylvatica

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 Acidic, Sandy, Peaty Acidic, Sandy, Peaty
 Alkaline, Chalky, Calcareous Alkaline, Chalky, Calcareous
 Light Sand Light Sand
 Neutral Neutral
Growth Rate: Moderate Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: Large Height: Large
Low Maintenance Low Maintenance
Native Native
RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM) RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM)
Use: Farm Woodland Use: Farm Woodland
Use: Firewood Use: Firewood
Use: Formal Use: Formal

Characteristics
Plant Protection
Planting & Care
Long Description 5
Images (5)
Questions (3)
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RHS Award of Garden Merit

Perhaps the most beautiful of our large native trees, with elegant spreading branches and leaves which turn rich copper in autumn. The soaring pale grey trunk, reminiscent of the columns of an ancient cathedral, and the delicate tracery of branches make this a tree which looks handsome throughout the year. Beech makes one of the best garden hedges, fast-growing, but needing only one cut a year. Although deciduous, beech hedges retain their brown leaves through the winter before they are pushed off by the new leaves in spring.

Site and soil

Beech needs a well-drained soil, but can cope with the extremes of both chalky and acid sands. Avoid heavy, waterlogged soils. It does well in shade.

Height and spread

Below are the approximate stages of growth, assuming sited in suitable conditions for this species;

After 10 years: 4m x 4m
After 20 years: 14m x 7m

Leaf and bark

The leaves are oval and shiny, 1.5cm long. Young leaves are a pale, tender green and covered with silky hairs which gives a shimmering effect. They turn rich copper before leaf fall. The bark is a beautiful smooth pale grey.

Flower, seed and fruit

The flowers open alongside the young leaves in May in small clusters, the females near the tip of the shoots. The fruits (beech mast) ripen in autumn; the triangular nuts are enclosed within a spiky outer seed case.

Uses

Specimen tree. Beech makes one of the best, low maintenance garden hedges. In the past beech was pollarded for furniture making. The timber is used for furniture making, wood-turning and charcoal. In Europe, beech mast has been used to feed pigs and poultry, and in times of famine has been eaten by humans too. An edible oil has been made from the nuts. A liqueur, beech leaf noyeau, can be made from the young leaves.

Wildlife

Beech mast is an important food source for small mammals and birds. Both the leaves and the timber are rich in potash and help to enrich the soil.

The main reasons for buying protection is to protect the plants against:

  • Pests
  • Spraying
  • Strimming

Pests

When it comes to deciding what protection to choose the golen rule of thumb is to choose the product dependent on which pest you are protecting against. The below will help you in deciding what height of protection you will need.

Vole Rabbit Hare Roe Deer/Muntjac Fallow Deer
Vole, Mice
20cm
Rabbit
60cm
Hare
75cm
Roe Deer/Muntjac
1.20m
Fallow Deer
1.50m

 Download our full protection range as a printable PDF document.

Protection Options

Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Vole
Vole, Mice
20cm
Vole Guard
20cm
None required
Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Rabbit
Rabbit
60cm
Spiral Guard
60cm x 38mm, 60cm x 50mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Easywrap
60cm x 50-65mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Mesh Guard with Spray Shield
60cm x 130mm
2 x Bamboo Canes
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Fruitwrap
60cm x 65-80mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Ecostart
60cm x 57-73cm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Tree Shelter
60cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelter
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 144-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelterguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 170-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube for Shrubs
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 170-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Hare
Hare
75cm
Tubex Easywrap
75cm x 50-65mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Spiral Guard
75cm x 50mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Tubex Fruitwrap
75cm x 65-80mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Tubex Ecostart
75cm x 57-73mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Tree Shelter
75cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Combitube
75cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
90cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
75cm x 80-110mm, 90cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelter
75cm x 130-160mm, 75cm x 144-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Roe Deer/Muntjac
Roe Deer/Muntjac
1.20m
Tubex Tree Shelter
1.20m x 73-105mm, 1.20m x 80-120mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Combitube
1.20m x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
1.20m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
1.20m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Galvanised Mesh Tree Guard
1.20m x 300mm
Machine Rounded Tree Stake
1.20m x 50mm, 1.50m x 50mm
Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Fallow DeerFallow Deer
1.50m
Tubex Tree Shelter
1.50m x 80-120mm, 1.80m x 80-120mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Combitube
1.50m x 80-120mm, 1.80m x 80-120mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
1.50m x 80-110mm, 1.80m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
1.50m x 80-110mm, 1.80m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Galvanised Mesh Tree Guard
1.80m x 300mm, 1.80m x 600mm
Machine Rounded Tree Stake
1.80m x 60mm

Spraying

Tubex tree shelters offer the benefit of not only protecting against animal damage, they also ensure that herbicides do not come into contact with the plants during spraying.

The main reason for spraying is weed control, however, there are other options available to suppress weeds. Our accessories section includes weed control matting, fertilisers & wildflower seed.

Strimming

Young plants should be protected from damage caused when strimming. To protect plants solely for strimming, our strimmer guards are the ideal product.

Planting

Can be grown into a tree or can be used as part of a mixed species within a native hawthorn hedge.

New hedgerows should be planted in two staggered rows 30cm apart.

We recommend 5 plants per metre.

Follow this link to our 'Planting Advice' page for more detailed information on how to plant your plants.

Rootgrow

We would often advise that you consider using 'Rootgrow' for your bare root plants. Rootgrow simply speeds up an existing natural process. The fungi contained in Rootgrow will begin to colonise the plant or tree roots, extending the root system into the surrounding soil via an extensive network of fungal filaments. 

The benefit of Rootgrowis that it enhances a plants root system so a newly planted plant:

  • Finds more food, finds more water.

  • Needs less fertiliser.

  • Establishes quicker and reduces failure rates (which can be improved even further when used in conjunction with Broadleaf P4)

  • Has increased tolerance to drought and difficult soil conditions

We also have a handy Welfare Guide that includes information on how to check your plants on arrival, how to plant them and also how to look after them. This is sent out with each delivery of bare root plants, but it can be downloaded from our advice pages.

Aftercare

Beech hedges should be pruned between July and August. Pollarding should be carried out over winter.

Readily available advice

For additional information on planting and maintaining your plants, please see our advice pages.

We provide extensive articles, tips, and even tutorial videos, ideal for beginners and those with previous planting experience.

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Hello I want to put in a hedge of about 30 metres as a windshield - thinking of beech? Would that be good and what spacing would I require between plants?

Thank you very much for your enquiry.

We can confirm that the a beech hedge, once it has reached maturity, does make a good windshield and that we would recommend you plant 5 to the metre in 2 staggered rows – you end up with 5 within a metre so as you look down at your planting one of the rows is likely to have 3 on it and the other 2. 

 Hope that helps, regards the Trees and Hedging Team

Please will you advise me on how far apart should the two rows be? As I understand it, for a good hedge, each plant should be 30cm apart - 5 to a metre - but am not sure how big the gap should be left between the staggered rows. Many thanks.

Thank you for your question.

We recommend that the rows are also 30cm apart. As you rightly say, we suggest that you plant five plants per metre.

Regards,
The Trees & Hedging team.

Do you mean 5 per metre in the staggered rows (10 in total) or 5 when staggered?

Thank you for your question.

Our recommendation of five plants per metre is when such are planted in a staggered row.

So, in answer to your question, when planting in staggered rows as suggested, you will require five plants per metre (and not ten).

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