Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - August 06, 2015

From: Roseburg, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: American Beech with Brown Leaves
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a North American beech tree in Oregon. Its leaves started out with big brown spots on the leaves and is pretty much turning all the leaves on the tree brown. What could be causing this and what can be done to minimize damage. Our summer has turned out with many days in the hundreds and very dry. Could this be a problem for the tree? Should I be watering it? Thanks for any help you can give me.

ANSWER:

The American beech (Fagus grandifolia) is a sturdy, imposing tree, 50-80 ft. tall, with a maximum height of 120 ft. Its bark is very smooth and light gray, remaining so as the tree ages. Large tree with rounded crown of many long, spreading and horizontal branches, producing edible beechnuts. Branches spread horizontally to form a rounded top and dense growth. Dark-green, glossy, prominently veined leaves turn copper-colored in the fall and hold on most of the winter. Beechnuts are among the most important of wildlife food.

American Beech was recognized by the colonists, who already knew the famous, closely related European Beech. American Beech is a handsome shade tree and bears similar edible beechnuts, which are consumed in quantities by wildlife, especially squirrels, raccoons, bears, other mammals, and game birds. Unlike most trees, beeches retain smooth bark in age. The trunks are favorites for carving and preserve initials and dates indefinitely.

Beech have shallow root systems so they are susceptible root zone disturbance and drought. During drought extra water should be given.

The USDA has the following information on their American Beech webpage about diseases: Usually none are serious provided soil is not compacted and is well-drained. Several fungi cause leaf spots but are generally not serious to warrant chemical control.  During periods of high temperatures and low rainfall Beech may scorch. Make sure trees are adequately watered and mulched.

 

From the Image Gallery


American beech
Fagus grandifolia

American beech
Fagus grandifolia

American beech
Fagus grandifolia

American beech
Fagus grandifolia

American beech
Fagus grandifolia

More Trees Questions

Shade trees for Tucson AZ
May 25, 2012 - I need to plant some "fast growing" trees or shrubs on my southwest yard in order to reduce the heat in my bedroom. What do you suggest? I live in Tucson, Arizona. Thank you in advance. I'm...
view the full question and answer

Will magnolia roots damage foundation?
May 16, 2010 - We have a Magnolia tree planted in a 5 foot square with foundation on three sides and a side walk on the front. These are all over our block placed by the builder. Will this tree work in this area or ...
view the full question and answer

Planting Garry Oak in Kinnikinnick in WA
May 09, 2015 - I want to plant a Garry Oak tree in my backyard in an area currently covered in kinnikinnick planted by the previous homeowner. The kinnikinnick covers a large area - about 10 feet in diameter. Even...
view the full question and answer

Control of borers attacking Prunus serotina
August 30, 2006 - Where can I find information to control borers that seem to attack only Prunus serotina v. exemia?
view the full question and answer

Need help identifying a tree with wintergreen-flavored bark that grew in my backyard during my youth in Cumberland, RI.
March 24, 2010 - Growing up in Cumberland, Rhode Island (a town in the northern part of the state) there was a tree in our backyard with thin, brown peel-able bark. The bark itself had white stripes. Under the layer o...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.