Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
Farm bill, farm marketing, agribusiness webinars, & farm policy.
Find tactics for healthy livestock and sound forages.
Scheduling and methods of irrigation.
Explore our Extension locations around the state.
Commercial row crop production in Arkansas.
Agriculture weed management resources.
Use virtual and real tools to improve critical calculations for farms and ranches.
Learn to ID forages and more.
Explore our research locations around the state.
Get the latest research results from our county agents.
Our programs include aquaculture, diagnostics, and energy conservation.
Keep our food, fiber and fuel supplies safe from disaster.
Private, Commercial & Non-commercial training and education.
Specialty crops including turfgrass, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Find educational resources and get youth engaged in agriculture.
Gaining garden smarts and sharing skills.
Timely tips for the Arkansas home gardener.
Creating beauty in and around the home.
Maintenance calendar, and best practices.
Coaxing the best produce from asparagus to zucchini.
What’s wrong with my plants? The clinic can help.
Featured trees, vines, shrubs and flowers.
Ask our experts plant, animal, or insect questions.
Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
Herbs, native plants, & reference desk QA.
Growing together from youth to maturity.
Crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, hort glossary, and weed ID databases.
Get beekeeping, honey production, and class information.
Grow a pollinator-friendly garden.
Schedule these timely events on your gardening calendar.
Equipping individuals to lead organizations, communities, and regions.
Guiding communities and regions toward vibrant and sustainable futures.
Guiding entrepreneurs from concept to profit.
Position your business to compete for government contracts.
Find trends, opportunities and impacts.
Providing unbiased information to enable educated votes on critical issues.
Increase your knowledge of public issues & get involved.
Research-based connection to government and policy issues.
Support Arkansas local food initiatives.
Read about our efforts.
Preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Licensing for forestry and wildlife professionals.
Preserving water quality and quantity.
Cleaner air for healthier living.
Firewood & bioenergy resources.
Managing a complex forest ecosystem.
Read about nature across Arkansas and the U.S.
Learn to manage wildlife on your land.
Soil quality and its use here in Arkansas.
Learn to ID unwanted plant and animal visitors.
Timely updates from our specialists.
Eating right and staying healthy.
Ensuring safe meals.
Take charge of your well-being.
Cooking with Arkansas foods.
Making the most of your money.
Making sound choices for families and ourselves.
Nurturing our future.
Get tips for food, fitness, finance, and more!
Understanding aging and its effects.
Giving back to the community.
Managing safely when disaster strikes.
Listen to our latest episode!
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture does not promote, support
or recommend plants featured in "Plant of the Week." Please consult your local Extension
office for plants suitable for your region.
Lust will get you in trouble every time. Having just returned from visiting a few
mountain gardens of North Carolina, I find myself with a bad case of plant envy. European
beeches, Fagus sylvatica are my latest craving and I just happen to know that one of the local big box stores
inexplicably has an astonishingly good assortment of trees at always affordable prices.
European beech – with its many stately and unique cultivars – is one of a dozen species
of closely related trees of the Fagus family found in the Northern Hemisphere in Europe,
Asia and North America. A mature beech of any species is enough to take one’s breath
away when you encounter it unexpectedly, but the European beech with its many selections
is the most cherished in gardens for it comes in an astounding array of shapes, sizes
Beeches are large deciduous, low-branched trees with rounded crowns capable of reaching
50 feet in height with a spread of 30 feet, but cultivars render any size designation
Weeping forms take on the appearance of a living waterfall while sentinel trees look
like living exclamation marks in the landscape. Leaf color varies from a green-gray
to deep purple to variegated to golden, all depending on the characteristics of the
cultivar. Only cultivars are offered in the nursery trade and there are at least 50
of these from which to choose.
In the wintertime, beeches have long, pointed cigar-shaped buds that make the tree
easy to identify. The winter buds and the smooth gray easily defaced bark make the
beeches easy to spot in the winter landscape. In the summer, the European beech and
the American beech are similar in appearance but Fagus grandiflora, the American beech, has prominently serrate leaves whereas the European beech has
an undulate margin without prominent serrations. Beeches are shallow-rooted and produce
heavy shade, so getting anything save a few early bulbs to grow beneath them, is a
European beech is the most common of the genus in gardens because it is considered
the easiest species to grow, yet for every 10 beeches planted probably only one will
live long enough to attain any stature in the garden. Should you live in an area from
Boston to Washington D.C., or in the Pacific Northwest, this pessimistic view is not
warranted but for much of the rest of the country it seems to be true. In all the
thousands of miles I’ve driven in Arkansas I’ve yet to see a specimen-sized European
beech in a landscape.
But this poor track record doesn’t stop me from trying. In their native clime, the
European beech is centered in France and Germany with stands that go north into England
and the Scandinavian countries and, to a lesser extent, south towards the Mediterranean.
The majority of the common cultivars are old clones that date back centuries and originated
in the moist, cool countries of Germany, France or England. The maritime climate of
this region – best represented in the US along the coastal region of the northeastern
states and the Pacific Northwest – is typified by light but evenly spaced rainfall,
moderate summer temperatures (both day and night) and cool, moisture-laden breezes.
If we are to attempt to provide similar conditions for the European beech we must
recognize that not every site in Arkansas is suitable for the tree. Ideally a sloping
site with a north or east face should be selected because such sites pick up less
summertime heat than slopes facing south or west. A high canopy of trees – oaks or
loblolly pines preferably – would give some shade and keep the tree cooler during
the stressful summer months. In their native habitat, young beeches often succumb
to heat and drought in forest settings unless provided an overstory of trees to protect
them during the establishment phase. Finally, an irrigated site seems to be an absolute
requirement because shallow rooted beeches have poor drought tolerance. And, should
you be lucky enough to have the perfect site, remember that beeches are slow growing
with 10-year-old trees only 10 to 12 feet tall.
European beech is hardy in zones 4 through 7 with summer temperatures being more challenging
than winter cold. It tolerates a wide pH range but with preference for slightly acidic
to slightly alkaline conditions. Rich, deep, well-drained soils are most to their
liking. Though growing beeches is not for the faint of heart or easily discouraged,
the payout – should you be lucky enough to succeed – will be something your grandchildren
By: Gerald Klingaman, retired Retired Extension Horticulturist - Ornamentals Extension News - June 22, 2012
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture does not maintain lists
of retail outlets where these plants can be purchased. Please check your local nursery
or other retail outlets to ask about the availability of these plants for your growing