Beech

in Species Guide
Latin name : Fagus Sylvatica Family : Fagaceae Genus : Fagus

Recognizing beech

Beech is recognized by:

  • Its trunks reaching 20-40 meters tall.
  • Its gray bark
  • Its oval, quite ribbed leaves
  • Its fruit, the beechnut

Sites favored by Beech

Temperatures 

Annual average of 3-6°C. Can usually withstand temperatures of -5 to +20°C. Does not tolerate excess heat. Beech is a sciophilous species so likes shaded areas and high atmospheric humidity. However, it adapts to different soil types.

Rainfall 

Annual average between 600 and 1,000 mm per year. Requires a constant presence of water in the soil. This species thrives in areas where mist is frequent.

Soils 

Beech likes light, well-drained, cool soils. It is found on chalky and/or sandy soils. Beech is sensitive to waterlogged soils. It is found in flat areas and at altitudes up to around 1,500 meters (although, beyond 800 m, it produces hard wood). One distinguishing factor: fresh, drained soils in a shaded environment. Beech is sensitive to strong winds.

Root development of the beech

  • Oblique, taproot system

Growth and production of beech

  • Dynamic growth:
  • Production of 5-15 m3/ha/year (depending on site).

Beech plantation

Density Spacing Benefits and drawbacks
800 to 1,500 plants/ha plantation 8 × 8 or 8 × 15 or 8 × 10 Adapts to plantations in the open (with a windbreak) in strips or under shelter. Windbreak essential. Not planted on bare surfaces.

Beech wood

  • Light brown heart and indistinct sapwood
  • Easy sawing, slow drying with risk of deformation
  • Tender heartwood.
  • Excellent for firewood and charcoal.
  • Also used for parquet flooring, fiber/particulate panels, joinery, cabinetwork, etc.
  • Trade name: Beech

Health

Does not suffer from any significant disease but watch for the appearance of canker.

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