Where to put fa Beech?

edlincoln(6A)August 21, 2014

I've been trying really hard to resist the temptation to buy trees in the summer . Well, on a trip to NH I dug up a tiny Beech sapling that was growing in a wooded lot. That's not a purchase, right? (Before you object, it was growing in a wooded lot my parents own, it was clustered with many other saplings not all of which could survive, and it was too close to a driveway. And I suspect someone may decide to clear the lot).

It has since come to my attention that Beech are finicky trees to plant. Where should I put it? Here are the options:

1.) Along the road. My original thought. The street trees in this area all died off, leaving lots of space to fill. Lots of sun, the the farthest part of the lot from ocean salt spray, no competition. The catch is it is dense clay soil with big rocks, and MIGHT get road salt. (not a lot)

2.) In a mulched tree cluster by the driveway. Two trees were planted close together next to the driveway in a patch of improved soil. One died, leaving a Norway Spruce with no branches on one side and a half empty mulched bed with loamy soil. I'd planned on filling this with a small understory tree like redbud or paw paw. Sheltered from wind and salt spray, little space.

3.) In a mulched bed by the sea. Salt spry every hurricane, and shade, but good loamy soil.

4.) Underneath dying maples. Partial shade (not a lot), a little wind and salt exposure, Hardpacked clay soil with gravel

5.) By the ocean. Lots of sun, salt spray, sandy gravelly soil.

This post was edited by edlincoln on Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 15:30

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i wasnt aware they were finicky ... i have a half dozen plus variations on a theme ..

i would pot it.. in cactus mix.. or half media.. half wood chips ...

and plant it properly after the leaves fall off ...

i have no experience planting them in salt spray ...

you need to get it over its transport shock ... before you apply transplant shock ....

put the pot in full bright shade until mid sept ...

ken

ps: aw heck.. just plant it ... you know where to get more ...

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 12:50PM
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wisconsitom

Really Ken-you have 6+ American beech cultivars? That is, I dare say, a bit hard to believe. So make me believe you!

Ed, it was I, in a post earlier today, who may have tipped you off on the difficulty of working with this fine tree. But should anyone not believe me, do your own research....it's out there....and let me/us all know of your findings. I've given up on Am. beech planting ideas enough times, being bombarded with the overwhelming probability of failure. But of course, in those cases, other people's money was involved. If it's only your own resources you need to be concerned with, knock yourself out. But beech generally, and Am. beech in particular, are very demanding of only a certain type of site, one which has shade, shelter from wind, perfectly draining soil, soil that is never dry but never saturated, and almost certainly, freedom from salt, whether airborne or applied to adjacent roads.

+oM

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 2:32PM
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edlincoln(6A)

wisconsitom, I don't doubt you. Every wild tree grows well somewhere, and ken_adrian may simply be lucky enough to be in a spot they do well. (As is my parent's summer home). Unfortunately, I dug the tree up before I was aware of the issues.

Could you venture an opinion as to which of these spots is least horrible? Will salt, full sun, or dense clay soil kill the tree faster? I don't have a spot that is free of all three.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 3:04PM
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wisconsitom

Hey Ed....I've purposely not selected one of those, because they all have limiting factors. As for Mr. Ken, I await his reply. I'm almost certain it's going to turn out he's got European beech cultivars, not American. There just aren't many AB cultivars in existence, period, although I'm sure someone will chime in now with a listing! There just aren't many AB in commerce, period.

I do native restoration work as a part of my job. I DO spec AB for some of the wooded ravine jobs we do, but these come in as tiny, maybe 1/2 inch saplings. It's too soon for me to tell you how these are doing, as it has only been a year or two since I got involved with those particular projects.

Let's see, let me re-read your OP:........

OK, each one starts off promising, but then there's salt, or clay, or what have you. You may as well shoot for that location which offers partial shade, decent soil, and for sure no salt. Does such a spot exist? Can you amend the soil with well-cured compost? ]That could make a difference.

+oM

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 3:20PM
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edlincoln(6A)

In a word, no. So, this tree is basically doomed?

The closest thing I can come up with is the mulched/improved island where it would be squeezed in with a mature Norway Spruce. I suppose you could argue that's the similar to the environment it would face in a forest.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 3:35PM
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ctnchpr

I hope this helps some: I have a woodlot, half hills and half rich creek bottom. The beeches in the bottom are gigantic and numerous. The ones on the hills are much smaller and rare. Like I said, IHTH.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 4:43PM
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poaky1

Ed, My opinion is that you are lucky if you dug up any tree in leaf, and it is still alive. I have an American Beech in full sun, in well drained loam, with clay about a foot down. This is my Beech approx 8 yrs in the ground, it was originally about 3 ft tall when planted, from the woods near me, it is nearly impossible to buy anywhere. I dug it up while dormant. It is about 15-18 ft tall now.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:33PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

That's impressive, poaky.

Am. Beech rarely survives transplant out of the woods.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:42PM
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edlincoln(6A)

If anyone cares, I dug it up, and it still was alive after a week in a pot. By the end it was just barely starting to show leaf droop. It's about a foot tall. I planted it in a spot of sandy soil moderately sheltered from the ocean and very sheltered from road salt with very little shade in the afternoon. The soil had been kind of "improved" by decaying roots from the pines that had died there...and an American Basswood was growing nearby.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:23PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Sounds like a pic is in order late next spring!

AB is notorious for being finicky during transplant.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:39PM
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wisconsitom

Yep Ed, may as well do what you suggest. You've got to put it somewhere, and that spot is probably the one which upon reading sounded the best. I'm saying AB is difficult to site/transplant/get to survive, not impossible.

Mostly though, I'm still waiting to read about Ken's 6 AB cultivars! Wanna make a bet he ain'ts gots em!? Got to be Euro-beech, still a fine tree, but....

BTW, a forest with A. beech in it is apt to also be full of hemlock, yellow birch, sugar maple, perhaps white pine, perhaps white ash, even some red pine believe it or not....leastways in the area I roam. Pretty hard to beat that collection.

+oM

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 12:12PM
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edlincoln(6A)

wisconsitom, the forested area I got it from is full of lots of mature white pine and baby elm, beach, hemlock, black spruce (I think?), paper birch, unidentified baby birch, maple, and red oak. Very few baby white pine...succession in progress, I guess. My parents bought the plot of land across the street from their summer place because it came with a narrow water access next to our property and new environmental regulations meant they needed more land to put a septic tank. It came with some forest.

The empty space I was trying to fill it with has the salt/wind/ sand/clay problem, so I wasn't sure what saplings to try to transplant that would do well in that environment, and had trouble identifying what was what. I didn't want to dig up and kill too many saplings that wouldn't survive. Any suggestions?

I also swiped a baby white pine, and a mountain ash. The white pine seems to be in decent shape. Ash less so.

Oh, I did find an online deal on bare root American Beech, and am debating getting it.

EDIT: This is where I ended up putting it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bluff View Nurseries American Beech

This post was edited by edlincoln on Fri, Sep 19, 14 at 22:11

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 4:43PM
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corkball(4)

keep it away from the salt as best you can - I have no direct experience being a thousand miles from an ocean, but everything I have read says fagus (especially American) doesn't like salt.

Also keep in mind beech get very large with lots of (damageable) shallow roots, so away from walking paths/driveway would be good too.

Sorry, that probably doesn't help a huge amount.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 7:56PM
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