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Beech: Planting And Use As An Ornamental Shrub
Beech: Planting And Use As An Ornamental Shrub

Video: Beech: Planting And Use As An Ornamental Shrub

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Fagus - shade-tolerant southerner, decoration of the northern garden

beech
beech

A lot of broad-leaved species - oak, maple, elm, ash and others, rarely found in nature, grow quite well in the Non-Black Earth Belt and in the North-West in culture, growing into beautiful tall trees. But beeches belonging to the same group - oriental (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) and forest or European (F. silvatica L.) - are less hardy.

In a tree-like form, at rest, they are able to withstand only short-term drops to -35 ° C without damage. Prolonged frosts are fatal for them. In addition, their seedlings, young shoots and leaves are sensitive to frosts at -2 … -5 ° C. Therefore, in these regions, they are usually not grown.

Meanwhile, beeches have a number of such remarkable properties that make it highly desirable to introduce them into culture as ornamental woody plants for landscape design. In the southern regions of the country, as well as in Western Europe, they are highly valued in park construction and ornamental gardening. They grow slowly. Their trunks are covered with a thin gray bark with a silvery shade. The wood is durable, beautiful, well polished.

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It is used for the manufacture of parquet, furniture, incl. bent (Viennese), musical instruments, rifle boxes. It is used to imitate wood of especially valuable species by impregnating the trunk with dyes at the root. The crown is wide, dense, conical or oval; in solitary trees, it is spherical. The foliage is glossy, glossy, dark green, becoming bronze-golden or orange in autumn. The leaf blades are up to 10 cm long (on average 6) and up to 6 cm wide (on average 3.5), the petiole is about 1 cm. They differ in a variety of colors and shapes, but for the most part they are entire, rounded-ovate with a wide-round base and a wavy edge.

beech
beech

Beech trees have a very valuable quality for landscape design - they are one of the most shade-tolerant tree species, they can withstand long and strong shading. Therefore, they can be used for decorative plantings on the north side of the house and under tree crowns. Although it is better they still grow in the light.

Beech trees are demanding to soil fertility, they like rich fresh soils with a pH of 5.5-6.5; excess and lack of moisture is equally poorly tolerated. Their flowers are inconspicuous, pollinated by the wind. Beech trees bloom simultaneously with full blooming of leaves, single standing trees from 20-40 years old, and in a plantation from 40-80 years. Fruits are triangular sharp-ribbed nuts, enclosed in two in one spinous cushion. They ripen in September - October, after which they fall to the ground. They are up to 1.5 cm long and 0.8 wide; weight of 1000 pieces - 250-300 g.

They are covered with a thin, woody skin from light to dark brown in color, which can be either shiny or matte. They contain 23-30% nitrogenous substances, up to 30% fatty semi-drying oil. In the cleaned nucleoli, the latter is even more - 40-67%. In addition, they contain 3-5% sugars, starch, proteins, organic acids (malic and citric), tannins, up to 150 mg% of vitamin E. They also contain a poisonous alkaloid phagin.

Therefore, raw they are slightly poisonous, and if consumed excessively, they can cause a headache, but fried are tasty, nutritious and completely safe (at a temperature of 100-120 ° C this alkaloid is destroyed). In addition, confectionery is prepared from nuts, oil is squeezed out. When cold pressed, it turns out to be straw yellow, tasty, not rancid. When hot pressed, the oil yield is greater, but it turns out to be darker, dries faster and is usually used for technical purposes.

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beech
beech

Although beeches are nut-bearing breeds, of course, you cannot get nuts from them in our zones, and neither can wood. However, as ornamental plants, they are undoubtedly of interest.

It is impossible to grow them, for example, in the Leningrad region in the form of tall slender trees, there is no point in even trying. But to form them in the form of an original low bush for decorative purposes is quite possible. In Sweden and Norway, in areas with approximately the same climate, bushy beech has been used in landscape design for a long time and often. In this form in the North-West it is possible to grow both of the aforementioned types of beech, but the forest beech is slightly more winter-hardy, which means it is more preferable.

You can introduce them by bringing and sowing seeds for this from Ukraine, the Caucasus, and other regions of the natural distribution of these species. However, it should be remembered that their seeds, like oak acorns, quickly lose their germination and can only be stored until spring. Moreover, it is necessary in a wet state (dried ones die) and at a temperature of about 0 ° C.

Therefore, it is still easier to sow them in the fall. At the same time, you should try to protect them from mice, which are very eager for beech nuts. It is best to ship seeds immediately after ripening in plastic bags sprinkled with a damp substrate (moss, sawdust, etc.). The seeding rate per 1 running meter of the ridge is 25 g or about 80 seeds.

beech
beech

The seeding depth for autumn sowing is 2-3 cm, and for spring sowing, after stratification, - 1.5 cm. Crops are mulched with sawdust or dry leaves with a layer of 1-1.5 cm. The optimal density of seedlings placement is 50-60 pieces per one running meter. ridges. Sowing beech nuts should obviously be more than the required number of seedlings, taking into account the selection of the most winter-hardy specimens. Seedlings are harmed by May beetle larvae and wireworms.

It is advisable to plant 3-4-year-old seedlings and seedlings in a permanent place. They usually take root well. But the digging of planting material and planting should be very careful, without damaging the root system. The slightest drying of the roots also greatly reduces the survival rate. In the first years of growth, seedlings and seedlings require shading. Beeches can also multiply by layering, branches pressed to the ground give adventitious roots. Beeches do not form root offspring.

However, there is an even better way out. Few people know, but in a small area near the villages of Mozhaiskoe, Taitsy, Pudost there is the only natural area of ​​mixed forests in the Leningrad region, where many broadleaf species grow in their natural state, including European beech. True, it is rare, but grows only in a vegetative form and only in the form of bushes or low multi-stemmed trees 5-8 m high.

beech
beech

But, nevertheless, I myself have met these plants several times in the forest. They reproduce by layering and pneumatic shoots, which can also be turned into layering. But this form of beech is quite winter-hardy and is quite adapted to the harsh conditions of the Leningrad region.

Therefore, it is much easier to take such layers of 3-4 years old with lumps of soil and introduce them directly from nature into culture. They take root well. When transplanting, the most important requirement is a careful digging of the planting material again without damaging the root system and keeping the roots moist, since their drying greatly reduces the survival rate. Seedlings do not tolerate bending of roots when planting.

There is no need for a large number of beech bushes on the site, it is better to plant them in small biogroups or even singly, in the latter case it is preferable on the lawn. A pair of tree-like bushes can also decorate the entrance or entrance to the site in an original way. The introduction of such very ornamental woody plants as beeches into the culture in our zone undoubtedly deserves the widest possible distribution.

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