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Tuesday - October 06, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Should I plant a Beech Tree in Austin, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


I'm considering planting a beech tree but most of the gardeners I've talked to think it won't do well in central Texas. The main issue seems to be an inadequate dormancy period due to our mild winters. Is there anything I can do (soil prep/fertilizers/???) to enhance its chances?


The American Beech Fagus grandifolia (American beech) is a handsome tree reaching up to 120 ft at maturity. It has glossy green leaves that turn bright yellow in the fall, and the edible beechnuts are an important source of food for wildlife. Its native distribution is mostly in the states east of Texas to the Atlantic and from north of Florida into Canada. It is found in East Texas only as far west as San Jacinto County in the Lake Livingston area. In other words, it's not from around here.

Checking some of its growth requirements by looking at the NPIN page and this site from the National Forest Service, we learn that it prefers acid soils, and in the majority of its distribution, the mean annual temperature ranges from 40 to 70° F, and the mean annual rain fall is from 30 to 50 inches. The problem with mild winters would be secondary to these considerations.

Mr. Smarty Plants would suggest consulting  the Texas Tree Planting Guide from the Texas Forest Service. By using the Custom Tree Selector, you can specify the conditions in your site, and obtain a list of several trees that would be suitable for your situation.

You can generate a similar list by going to the Recommended Species section of our website and select Central Texas on the map. Do a combination search by selecting tree under General Appearance, perennial under Lifespan, sun under Lght Requirement, and dry under Soil Moisture.



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