Hi, I'm Alexis Alvey, nursery and landscape specialist and arborist for the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Today, I'm going to share some information about the American beech tree. American beech is a large-sized tree that typically grows 50-70 feet tall, and can reach over 100 feet tall. It's smooth, thin bark has been used by American Indians for tribal carvings. It is widely distributed throughout the eastern half of North America. American beech grows best on well-drained, moist, acidic soils high in organic matter content. It is very shade tolerant. It is commonly found in the mixed deciduous woodlands. It's scientific name is Fagus grandifolia. The bark of the American beech is very distinctive – it is light gray and smooth, and some say it resembles an elephant hide. The leaves of American beech are 2-5 inches long and are light green in color with prominent veins. The edges of the leaves are coarsely toothed and are alternately arranged. Autumn color is a golden yellow which sets local woodlands aglow in the fall. American beech is typically shallow-rooted, especially on poorly drained soils. However, the root system extends very far laterally, which yields good anchorage. American beech produces beechnuts which ripen in the fall. Typically two nuts are found within a bur. American beech makes an excellent shade tree when given enough space – it is naturally low-branching, provides dense shade, and is a highly revered tree. Thanks for watching. For more great information about forestry, please visit the Education channel on About.com.
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