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Fagus sylvatica
  • RHS AGM

common beech

Large, vigorous deciduous tree reaching 30m in height, with a broad, spreading crown. Leaves broadly elliptic, yellow-green in spring, rich golden copper to russet-brown in autumn. Small, green flowers in early spring, are followed by bristly fruits (nuts)

Other common names
European beech

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Size
Ultimate height
Higher than 12 metres
Time to ultimate height
20–50 years
Ultimate spread
Wider than 8 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Green
Summer Green
Autumn Brown Orange Brown
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or North–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Fagaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Genus

Fagus are large deciduous trees with smooth grey bark, ovate leaves colouring well in autumn, and inconspicuous flowers followed by usually spiny fruits

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe to Caucasus

How to grow

Cultivation

Tolerant of a range of soils including chalk, grow in full sun or partial shade. For best colour, position in full sun. For more information see beech cultivation

Propagation

Propagate by seed or grafting

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Architectural
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Hedging and screens
Pruning

Pruning group 1; or can be pruned as hedges

Pests

May be susceptible to aphids and beech bark scale

Diseases

May be susceptible to beech bark disease, fungi (particulary bracket fungi) and powdery mildews. Sometimes susceptible to honey fungus

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