Pruning the Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica)

Pruning the Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica)

Pruning |

Beech, or Fagus Sylvatica as it is also known, can be allowed to develop into a bush or tree but it also suitable for planting as a hedge. It is deciduous but when grown as hedging and trimmed annually in August, you will find that the leaves tend to be retained in a dry state throughout the winter.

Although the beech bears a resemblance to the hornbeam (Carpinus Betulus), these two plants should not be confused. The easiest way to tell the difference, if you are in any doubt, is to look at the leaves. The leaves of the common beech have smooth edges, whereas the leaves of the hornbeam have serrated edges.

When to prune a beech hedge?

You should trim your beech hedge in the second week of August. For the first two years after planting your beech, you should shorten the longer shoots to encourage growth without losing too much of the height. The best time to cut beech hedge is from the third year onwards – when you will focus on the sides and aim for a flat-topped A-shape, in cross sections. Your base should be about one metre wide, then you can taper upwards to the height you require. holes are created!

Beech hedges maintenance:

Once your beech is established it will require a regular trim in August. If you miss this date then it is best to wait until the spring.

If you are looking to renovate your hedge then cut it back in February – although delay this if it is still very cold. If more than half needs cutting back, stagger this over two years.hedge is normally trimmed at least once a year

When to prune a beech bush ?

If you are growing the beech as a bush in your garden, March is the best time to give it a trim. If your beech has become too big, you can cut the branches back by about fifty centimetres, although you should not do this too frequently as it is important for the bush to retain a natural shape. Make sure you prune evenly so that no gaping holes are created.

When to prune a beech tree?

Winter, between November and February, is the most suitable time to shape a beech into a tree, as any branches that are not required can be removed completely. All trees have some shoots that grow straight upwards. These are known as suckers and it is best to remove these completely. Branches that grow sideways, crossing other branches in the crown, should also be removed as they may eventually damage the main branches. In doing so, make sure you leave the branch collar intact, and treat the pruning cuts with a wound sealant.

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