American Beech Tree Bark, Leaf, Flowers, Fruit & Nut Identification & Facts

The American Beech Tree (Fagus gradifolia) is native to the United States and is particularly abundant throughout the State of Georgia. The beech tree can be recognized by its smooth gray bark and abundant foliage and can most often be found in woodland areas that have plenty of access to water. Mature trees can grow to a height of over 100 feet; and once the tree has matured it will produce beech nuts. The small nuts have a high fat content and are enjoyed by a multitude of different mammals including chipmunks, squirrels, deer, and an assortment of different bird species. The American beech tree makes a beautiful addition to any garden particularly as a landscape tree. The trees are renowned for their strong horizontal branches, resistance to disease and their ability to support as many as 120 different insect species. During the fall months the foliage turns to yellowish gold and young trees in particular will maintain the color through winter giving them the appearance of a tree draped in soft golden sea foam.

Characteristics and Distinguishing Features of the American Beech Tree

When planted in urban landscapes, the American beech tree can reach heights of 60 to 80 feet. In its natural woodland habitat, trees can reach as high as 120 feet. The trunk is considered short with a broad crown which can spread to a width of 50 feet. The leaves can range in size form 2 ½ to 6 inches in length and are a dull green color in the summer months but turn to shades of yellow and gold in the fall months. The American beech tree flowers in the early spring months. The male flowers are yellow and bunched together into small round clusters. The female flowers are smaller than the males with reddish scales. The pollinated flowers will form into the edible beech nut.

American Beech Tree Nuts

The tree produces the nuts in large quantities every two or three years. The tree is abundant in many parts of the United States, but grows best in hardiness zones 3 through 8. Mature trees produce a high-calorie oily nut between the months of September and November. The nuts allow many species of wildlife to store calories and survive the winter months. Shiny and triangular in shape, the brown nuts have a prickly outer coating and grow in pairs on a short stalk.

Care of American Beech Trees

American beech trees can tolerate a variety of soil types but perform best in soil that is moist but well drained. The trees are also moderately drought tolerant, but they cannot tolerate salt either in the soil or in the air. Beech trees grow well in a variety of light including partial sun, full sun, partial shade and full shade.
Many people find the smooth grey bark of the American beech the ideal place to carve names and initials. In fact many of the trees in Georgia especially those found in national parks and along nature trails have suffered this fate. The etchings and carvings are permanent which not only damages the appearance of the tree but it can also allow wood damaging insects or fungi access to the tree with devastating consequences.

American Beech Tree Services in McDonough, Jackson, Jonesboro, Fayetteville & Hampton as well as Fayette, Clayton & Henry Counties in Central Georgia

For more information regarding tree trimming & pruning services, emergency tree removal, stump grinding & removal & storm damage cleanup around your Henry County property, contact the experienced & knowledgeable professionals at Milam’s Tree Service today!

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