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American BeechFagus grandifolia

  • American Beech - Fagus grandifolia

The formal and stately American beech holds a special place in many hearts. The wide-spreading canopy provides great shade in the summer and beautiful bronze coloring in the fall. It is a versatile tree, often used in parks, golf courses, acreages and the forestry industry.

The American beech is not a tree you plant for fast growth and quick shade—this slow grower is planted for future generations to enjoy. And what a lovely legacy for you to leave.

Hardiness Zones

The american beech can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–9. View Map

Tree Type

This tree is considered both a shade tree and an ornamental tree. It features a spreading canopy capable of blocking sunlight and adds visual interest and beauty to landscaping.

Mature Size

The American beech grows to a height of 50–70' and a spread of around 40' at maturity.

Growth Speed Slow to Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a slow to medium rate, with height increases of anywhere from less than 12" to 24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The American beech grows in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, silty loam, well-drained and clay soils. It is very drought sensitive.


This tree:
  • Develops a dense canopy.
  • Provides golden bronze fall color.
  • Features simple leaves that are 3–6" long with sharp, incurved teeth on the margins.
  • Yields edible, hard, brown beechnuts that are ½–1" in diameter.
  • Compensates for its slow grown with longevity.
  • Retains its smooth bark as it ages.
  • Needs plenty of space.
  • Grows in an oval shape.

Wildlife Value

Beechnuts are eaten by birds and mammals, serving as an important food for chipmunks and squirrels.


A sturdy, densely canopied tree, the American Beech was a sign of fertile soil to early settlers and was quickly removed so the plow could take over and farming for food could commence. In hilly locations, it was the home for migrating Passenger Pigeons who were so numerous that they broke off the limbs of the trees from the sheer weight of their numbers when they perched on them. There was a Beech tree on the old stage road between Blountsville and Jonesboro, Tennessee that had an inscription carved into the trunk that read "D. Boone Cilled A Bar On Tree In Year 1760." The tree fell in 1916 and had a girth of 28-1/2 feet. The Forest Service estimated the tree's age to be 365 years, making it fully two centuries old before Daniel Boone inscribed on it.