Native to North America, this handsome tree is a long-lived species that thrive in Pennsylvania. American Beech trees (Fagus grandifolia) older than 350 years have been found in the state, showing how well the climate, soil, and environment are for them here.
Description of the American Beech Tree
A wonderful tree to seek shade under or to admire during the fall, this deciduous species can be recognized by its remarkable silver bark, which remains smooth even when the tree grows older. Its leaves are oval, smooth and have small teeth on the edges. American beech is also easy to spot during winter because of its tendency to retain its leaves even after they go pale.
The branches and leaves of the beech tree grow in an alternate pattern. In winter, American beech trees show spear-shaped buds at the ends of the branches.
It can reach a height of 50 to 70 feet with its spread equal to its height.
How to Grow an American Beech Tree
Another remarkable characteristic of the American beech tree is its resistance to shade. Unlike other native trees in the area, like the white oak, it can withstand the lack of direct sunlight. However, it’s best to provide it with at least four hours of light a day.
The soil should be moist, acidic and well-drained, making the Pennsylvania clay and sandy soils suitable for this species. If you want to plant an American beech tree, make sure you give it plenty of space, as it will occupy a large area.
The water needs of a beech tree are average. Be sure not to overwater or let the soil dry and crack.
Beech trees have shallow roots that can also propagate. Take notice that grass will not grow very effectively under an American beech tree. It's best to have mulch underneath, anyway, because it needs proper drainage and lack of competition from other plants.
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