Trees and Shrubs forum→Beech tree?

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CH69
Jan 24, 2020 8:01 AM CST
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Hi, We have this (I think) Beech tree in my garden which is growing really tall - but I really don't know how/when to prune it. Should we just
1. Reduce the overall height and shape it as best we can
2. Thin out the branches and reduce the overall height of what we leave
3. Cut it back hard down to around a foot and a half?
4. Leave it to the experts :)
Novice gardener here, so really appreciate any advice. Thanks Smiling

Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
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oneeyeluke
Jan 25, 2020 4:52 AM CST
Don't top it and don't cut the base or trunk of the tree. Just thin the smaller branches out, all the small branches that are smaller than the 4 or 5 large ones. You have about 4 or 5 older large branches that are healthy. Pick out the largest limbs to keep and remove all the little ones. Cut the small ones level with the ground. The large branches are the first branches the tree had and the little ones have grown since then. Keep the largest and remove the rest. Easy Job!
NOT A EXPERT! Just a grow worm! I never met a plant I didn’t love.✌
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
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ViburnumValley
Jan 25, 2020 12:08 PM CST
Hi CH69:

You can help elicit excellent and educated advice by providing a more full picture of information about your plant.

First, where are you living and growing this plant? That makes a huge difference in giving proper advice about pruning and other sorts of care.

Second, since this is your plant, TAKE MORE PICTURES. Take some closeups of the stems, buds, branches, trunk, etc. This will allow a positive ID to be made.

With no other information at this point, I will say emphatically that I do NOT believe this is a Beech tree (Fagus sp.) of any sort. It looks much more like a Hornbeam, and probably one of the European or Asian Hornbeams (Carpinus sp.), due to the very obvious catkins showing out toward the branch tips. This species is a well known heavy suckering tree - historically used as a plant that responds well to coppicing to generate very long straight stems and/or regular sources of firewood due to this behavior. I have one of these here at the Valley - planted about 30 years ago. I have repeatedly cut it to the ground, and it repeatedly resprouts many healthy vigorous ascendent stems. I predict that your plant will do the same, especially if you remove a significant amount of wood at any one time.

Knowing where this plant is growing, and more detailed images to positively ID it, will lead to some quality discussion about what you might want to do with it.

John
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jan 25, 2020 12:51 PM CST
Also: what do you want it to look like?
Porkpal
Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)
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Arico
Feb 13, 2020 5:57 PM CST
It's not a beech, but hazelnut (Corylus avellana): you can tell by the growth habit (messy and shrubby) and the male catkins hanging down. Beech (Fagus) also has a smoother bark while Corylus has rougher bark as seen here.

Hazelnut responds well to cutting and is frequently used in Europe in coppice woods. Every seven to ten years they'd cut the plant right down to a stump for the wood to be used in broom making, basket weaving etc. They'll sprout again to begin the cycle anew.
[Last edited by Arico - Feb 13, 2020 6:01 PM (+)]
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Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
Region: United States of America Region: Kentucky Farmer Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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ViburnumValley
Feb 26, 2020 8:09 PM CST
I agree that Arico is spot on, and describing the tree that I am coppicing here at the Valley. I got my C genera crossed up - it is certainly Corylus sp.

More pictures would make that clear to EVERYONE...
John

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