My copper beech from May to June: Falsely accused.

Beech tree in June

Beech tree in June

In my last tree post I was accusing my copper beech of turning my garden into a forest of saplings.  In my defence it was an easy mistake to make; in Autumn the whole garden is absolutely covered in beech nut cases so it was easy to assume that the saplings came from the beech nuts inside.  However as the saplings grew and developed their first true leaves it became obvious that these were not beech leaves at all. It took me a while to discover which tree the saplings had come from, but eventually we worked it out.  I am pretty sure the whole forest of saplings were due to the single elm tree that we share on a garden border with a neighbour.  I’ll bet they have the same problem as us. I hadn’t even noticed elm tree seeds – I think I had better follow that tree next time!

sapling with new leaves

sapling with new leaves

Elm tree leaves

Elm tree leaves

I knew we must have beech saplings somewhere as we have a few small trees growing already so the hunt was on.  I eventually found one nestling amongst old tulip stalks.  The first leaves are a totally different shape to the elm sapling’s. I haven’t actually found a copper beech sapling yet.

beech sapling

beech sapling

The beech tree itself is looking magnificent now its leaves are fully out.  Unfortunately the time for the photos of the sun shining through the leaves is over now the leaves have matured. The colour has deepened and the leaves are not so translucent.  I did get a few more photos in the middle of May.   beech tree end may beech green leaves It is interesting how the leaves that are shaded are much more green than the ones in the sun.

Greenish copper beech leaves

Normal copper beech leaves

Copper beech leaves in shade

Copper beech leaves in shade

The real difference in the tree is that the flowers have shed covering the garden . . . . and in their place the nuts have started to grow.

New beech nuts

New beech nuts

The cases are really soft just now, but they will gradually harden as the nuts develop inside. I have never noticed these at this stage before. Here is a picture showing the beech tree with its neighbours. Can you believe when we moved into the house there was another tree between the beech and the silver birch. It was a difficult decision at the time to take out a large tree, but there would never have been room for it and the beech tree would have suffered as a consequence.

Beech tree with neighbours

Beech tree with neighbours

The silver birch is in our garden and the tree at the back is a horse chestnut. Thankfully the chestnut was pollarded a few years ago which has kept it smaller. I wouldn’t want anything to put pressure on the beech or birch either. Well I hope my copper beech forgives me for mistaking its offspring – it was a case of not seeing the wood for the trees! Thanks to Lucy at LooseAndLeafy for hosting this great meme – there are lots of other ‘tree followers’ listed on her site.

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16 thoughts on “My copper beech from May to June: Falsely accused.

  1. It’s wonderful that your neighbour has an elm tree, in spite of all the seedlings! Did Dutch Elm disease not reach Scotland, we have lost nearly all our elms down here? Your Copper Beech is beautiful, especially with the sun shining through the leaves.

    • Yes, unfortunately Dutch Elm disease is here too and we have to keep our eye on the tree. I think it is a Wych Elm which are less susceptible because the beetles don’t like it so much. Apparently we have more of that type in Scotland than the English elm. The copper beech tree is very beautiful in the late afternoon sun; you have to grab the opportunity for photographs as you only have about an hour when the sun is right and probably only a few days when the weather is right before the leaves mature. I didn’t manange any photos last year, but I did get quite a few the year before.

    • I hope my tree is made of sterner stuff, Angie. It should at least be pleased with all the attention it is getting of late!
      The weather has been pretty good too, the best combination of heavy rain at night and sun during the day.

  2. I have noticed that copper beech trees vary in colour. Sometimes you see two trees quite close to each other that are quite different. They are magnificent trees though, yours looks wonderful.

    • I hadn’t looked that closely before at copper beech trees, but I am now. It would be interesting to grow some saplings to see how the colour varied if they were in the same conditions. You would need a few years though.
      They are great trees, as are other beech trees too – we are lucky to have such a mature one at the bottom of the garden.

  3. Earlier in the year, I walked through a wood before leaves had come on the trees. On the ground were the empty cases of beech mast but no nuts. There were also a lot of little plants with glossy, roundish shaped leaves that I hadn’t come across before. Now I’m thinking – “Little beech trees!” I’ll have to go back and see if they have sprouted more recognisable (to me!) leaves. I saw similar plants in the New Forest. Mystery solved. (I think!)

    • They do sound like beech saplings. I wonder how long they will live as they can’t possibly all grow to full size trees. Maybe they get eaten by rabbits or deer while they are small. Do let me know if they have grown their proper leaves.

  4. I really do like and admire copper beech trees and wish we had more in Southern Ontario. Perhaps they weren’t as easily available back when other now mature trees were being planted. Their bark and their leaves, and canopy are so beautiful.

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