Suitable Trees: Beech


Beech make excellent Bonsai, there are types of Beech spread throughout the world's temporate zones.

They tend to be grown in Informal and Cascade Styles, and leaf trimming every other year will reduce the size of leaves on the larger types. It is important that leaf trimming is carried out as early as possible, as beech may not come back into leaf that year if it is left to late.

The Southern Beechs (Nothofagus SP) are closly related to beeches from the Northern hemispere, differing in that they have both deciduous, and evergreen species. From a bonsai viewpoint the can be treated as their Northern counterparts, except that you should not leaftrim the evergreen species.

They have no special needs but tend to do better in a alkaline (lime) soil rather than a peat based compost.

A Beech Group on a slab, really the best time to see this 'Tree' as when in leaf it'll be just a 'blob' of foliage.


This was my first collected tree, and I've had it for about thirty years. Like so many trees, I was unsure what to do with it at first, tending to leave it and see what developed.

It's still a bit of a 'stick', having little taper to the trunk, however pruning the top while allowing the lower branches to grow on, is having a benificial effect on it.

The tree is shown in winter, and in common with all immature beech, it retains the dead leaves over winter.

One of the many cultivars of Beech is the 'Copper' beech.

A stand of 'wild' Beech in Epping Forest near London, These trees were 'Pollard' several hundred years ago. As young trees they were cut off at about the height a man could reach. This induced lots of bud at that height and those shoots when mature were themselves cut off for timber. This happened all over Europe. it could be said that they were 'Broomed'

Unfortunately these trees are no longer managed, as the cost of manpower weighed against the value of the timber is prohibitive. So at the 'Crotch' where the branches meet water pools causing rot and this coupled with the weight of the trunks causes them to collapse as we see here.

Suitable Styles

All except Hankan, Formal upright and Literati, the last two of which should always be conifers

© Allen. C. Roffey May 4, 2018 18:38