Beech

Fagus sylvatica

Green, or Common, Beech is best known as a hedging tree as it can be clipped closely for a neat hedge. Beech will grow reasonably well under most conditions, including in moderate shade, but does not tolerate waterlogged soils. Beech does cast a heavy shade with relatively heavy leaf litter, so the floor of a Beech woodland tends to be relatively clean of other vegetation. Beech woodlands are very important for certain types of orchid and fungi.

Potentially a large tree, Beech can eventually grow to 120ft (36m) under optimal conditions but should reach 4m after 10 years.Beech trees have beautifully smooth, grey bark. The leaves turn russet-brown in winter and will remain over winter if pruned in midsummer.

Beech is native to the UK, but only south of a line from the Wash to the Severn. However, Beech does grow very well throughout the UK as can be seen from the wonderful Beech woodlands in North East Scotland.

When grown as a tree the wood is quite pale and has a delicate figure. It is used extensively in furniture manufacture.