Winter beeches

American beech trees retain their leaves in the winter, giving successional forests a ghostly appearance. Beeches are abundant in the understory of hardwood forests here; shade-tolerant beeches have regenerated in the lower light levels of maturing forest. Lack of periodic natural fire is another reason that beeches are common where they didn't used to be; fire damages their thin bark, killing young (and old) trees.

The dead leaves are shed as the new leaves expand in spring.


  1. I am enjoying your posts. I have gone back into some of your older ones and especially like the slideshow dealing with wildlife habitat creation. Last year heard Doug Tallamy speak about biodiversity, native plants, and the balance of nature.
    We have the beeches in our wooded areas as well... as most of the woods are bare, they add dimension.

  2. I love the beeches in our forested parks....they seem happier ion hillsides where the soil drains better. Which is why I have never planted them here...poor drainage. I love that they hold onto their leaves all winter. The only other color we have in the woods is juniper.


  3. Jane,
    Glad you're enjoying some of the older posts! The 'Creating a Garden Full of Life' is my very favorite program to give, not surprisingly, given my inclinations.

    We've definitely seen first-hand how our formerly barren (lawn-filled) landscape has been transformed.


  4. Gail,
    The beeches are really lovely in the woods-- I love them this time of year, too.

    We've planted several (from rescued saplings)in our yard, and they've flourished, although they're quite slow-growing, but we have well-drained, acidic clay, not the kind you have!



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