Growing Instructions for the American Beech
The seeds need to be planted when received or stored in a refrigerator until they are planted. The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year. 1. Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for 2-3 months. 2. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Fill a pot with a mixture of half potting soil and half sand or vermiculite. 3. Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil. 4. Water the container and leave it to drain. 5. Put the pot in a warm, sunny area. 6. Water the pot regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet. 7. The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.
Fagus grandifolia, commonly called American beech, is native to eastern North America. It is a large deciduous tree typically growing to 50-80’ (less frequently to 120’) tall with a dense, upright-oval to rounded-spreading crown. It occurs in rich woods, ravines, slopes and valleys. It is a low-branched tree with its mature trunk ranging from 2-3’ (less frequently 4’) in diameter. Trunks have distinctive thin, smooth, gray bark. Ovate to elliptic dark green leaves (to 5” long) have coarse, widely-spaced marginal teeth and prominent parallel veins, each vein ending at the tip of a marginal tooth. Foliage turns golden bronze in fall. Monoecious yellowish green flowers bloom in April-May, the male flowers in drooping, long-stemmed, globular clusters and the female flowers in short spikes. Female flowers give way to triangular nuts enclosed by spiny bracts. Beechnuts ripen in fall and are edible. Best grown in deep, rich, moist but well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Hardy in zones 3-9.