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European BeechFagus sylvatica

  • European Beech - Fagus sylvatica
  • European Beech - Fagus sylvatica
  • European Beech - Fagus sylvatica
  • European Beech - Fagus sylvatica
  • European Beech - Fagus sylvatica

The European beech has been described by many experts as the finest specimen tree available. Tree expert Michael Dirr hales it as “so beautiful that it overwhelms one at first glance.”

If you have the space for it, the European beech will provide you with unmatched year-round beauty—shimmering green leaves unfurling in the spring, dense shade in the summer, striking autumn foliage and a pleasing winter silhouette.

Hardiness Zones

The european beech can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–7. 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 European beech grows to a height of 50–60' and a spread of 35–45' 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 European beech grows in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It prefers moist, well-drained soil but has some drought tolerance.


This tree:
  • Develops a dense canopy
  • Works well for a hedge as it withstands heavy pruning.
  • Tends to branch close to the ground.
  • Provides rich russet golden bronze fall color.
  • Features alternate, simple leaves that are 2–4" and a lustrous dark green color.
  • Yields oval, brown beechnuts that are ½–1" in diameter.
  • Grows in an oval shape.
  • Does not do well in extreme heat.

Wildlife Value

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


The European beech tree has an unmatched place in history. The beechnuts were food for prehistoric man and are still consumed today. The wood has been employed for centuries for both fire and furniture in Europe. Historians claim that the first written European literature was inscribed on Beech bark in Sanskrit. The English word 'book" comes from the Anglo-Saxon "boc", a derivative for the Anglo-Saxon "beece" or Beech.