beech saplings in garden

I’m Growing a Forest!

My Copper Beech in April

My Copper Beech in April

I can’t blame the copper beech entirely as I have two other beech trees in the garden, but my garden is covered in beech saplings. They are coming up through the grass, the paving stones, the flower beds – in fact anywhere that the beech nuts got to last Autumn.

beech saplings in garden

beech saplings in garden

beech saplings in paving

beech saplings in paving

I blame the squirrel – he was far too busy pinching the birds’ peanuts to bother gathering the nuts he is supposed to eat.  Then again maybe he did all the burying of the nuts in the first place so they didn’t get raked up off the lawn.  Thankfully it isn’t really a problem as the first lawn cut will sort the lawn out and the rest will come out with the general weeding.      I do sometimes miss some though and find little trees growing in the strangest of places.

Small beech tree

Small beech tree

Luckily I have a friend who takes them to a piece of land  where she rescues abandoned trees.

Notice how the young beech trees don’t drop their leaves in winter.  This also happens if a tree is kept clipped and that is why beech trees are so useful for hedging. The scientific name for this process is marcescence.

It is thought that the reason this occurs is to prevent young trees having their bark stripped by deer and other animals. Dead, dry leaves would make the twigs and buds less nutritious and palatable.
(Good old Wikopedia!)

Anyway I digress from the larger Copper Beech.

I first though that there had been no change whatsoever from last month, but on closer inspection I think the buds have in fact got a little fatter. They were looking lovely today sparkling in the sunlight.

Copper beech branch

Copper beech branch

Bud looking fatter

Bud looking fatter

I am a bit concerned though as I have just discovered that beech trees have a very shallow root system. Next door has recently built a large dog kennel/workshop at the bottom of their garden but quite close to the copper beech tree. I did ensure that they weren’t going to be digging foundations that would damage the roots, but I am now wondering whether the tree will get enough water with quite a bit of its root system covered in concrete.  I believe beech trees can suffer badly from lack of water. Thankfully though lack of water is rarely a problem up here so hopefully it will be OK.

Around the base of the tree the wild bluebells are in full leaf, but no flowers yet.  An unidentified shrub, which is very useful for flower arranging, has also come into leaf.

Underneath the beech tree

Underneath the beech tree with new building next door

And, of course, there are still more saplings. . .

Thanks to Lucy at LooseAndLeafy for hosting this great meme – there are lots of other ‘tree followers’ listed on her site.




15 thoughts on “I’m Growing a Forest!

  1. I love your blog. I am a dear friend of Rhona. Andrea and my daughter Caitlin were inseprable when they were young and still keep in touch today. I have a large garden myself. More work than I have time for. I always start off keen in the spring but when hot summer heat starts I loose some interest. Spring is late here this year as I still have several feet of snow! I live in Orillia, Ontario north of Toronto. I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. I have my dear Aunt Effie still living in Huntly and various cousins, friends and family in the area. Keep up the great blog and I look forward in all the updates.
    Kind regards, Fiona

    • Hi Fiona,
      Very pleased to meet you and thank you so much for your kind comments. My garden is just about the right size to manage, especially as we don’t get the hot summers that you do. I have been reading blogs of very frustrated gardeners with all the snow you have had this year. I do hope it clears soon and you can enjoy your spring.
      I have lots more blogs planned so do please keep reading.
      Best wishes,

  2. An interesting post Annette. Listen to you with your ‘marcescence’! I do love words, I can’t wait to drop that one into a conversation. Mind you it’s not a subject that comes up very often.
    I used to have a Copper Beech and I was always amazed at the variation in colour in the leaves of the different seedlings.

    • Thanks Chloris. I’m sure you can steer the conversation round to it if you try hard enough!
      Yes, I believe Kew propogate copper beech trees by grafting in order to retain the colour of the leaves. (See, I have really done my homework this month!)

  3. We have the same problem with Ash seedlings, we are pulling them up all the time. Now that Ash trees have a problem with die back, maybe I ought to treasure them, our trees thank goodness are ok so far. It makes me wonder though why someone was importing diseased trees in the first place when they grow so quickly.

  4. The picture of the seedlings is so charming I felt a bit wrenched away when we returned to the big tree. Lovely to see the fattening bud. One of the interesting things about this tree-following project is it’s bringing to life for me the way different kinds of trees open their leaves at different times. Of course it’s something I’ve known in theory but haven’t previously bothered much to observe in practice.

    • Thanks Lucy. I am really enjoying the tree following too. I didn’t think I would have anything to say this month, but its amazing what you find when you start looking.

  5. amazing all those seedlings Annette, it is so nice your friend saves trees, I think that is really lovely she must be a very nice person, the buds do look fatter in the skywards photo, they look like plump dots on the branches, Frances

  6. Hi Annette, great post. And, like Chloris, I’m very impressed with your ‘marcescence’. I hope I’ll have more to say about my oak next month,but am enjoying the watching and waiting.

  7. How very lovely to have a place to take stray saplings – and yet I suppose we could probably all find such places. Is hers and ‘official’ site or some sort of waste ground? We could spare hundreds of hazels (squirrels), cherries (birds) and holly (birds, I suppose). I knew beech kept their leaves over winter but hadn’t considered why – or that there was a name for it!

    • I think it is just a spare piece of land that her mother owns, but not sure of the details. Yes I hated throwing out small trees that had already got established in the garden, so I used to put them in a flower pot and if they survived the transfer I would give them to her. These days I have had more time for gardening so don’t have so many saplings getting to that stage.

  8. Pingback: New Leaves | My Aberdeen Garden

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