Beech hedge, 60+ years old

FinnLakk

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So I have the opportunity to collect as many of these European beeches as I like, they've been growing here for 60+ years.

There's a couple in there with interesting trunks that would be worth having. However the problem comes as they need to be out of there by October and obviously the best chance of success would be to do this over a couple seasons reducing the size top and bottom as you go.

Buds are swelling so Its not an ideal time for pruning but I was thinking of reducing the 3 or 4 worth taking, clearing out branches surrounding them so they get some light. Then come back in the 2nd half of summer and chop around the roots and then finally come back and collect at the end of September and overwinter them in an unheated poly tunnel.

My thinking behind this method is that I know beech trees in a forest work as a community so I'm hoping by leaving the ones not worth collecting as whole as possible they'll help the ones that have been pruned hard recover during this season.

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? IMG_20220310_134910.jpgIMG_20220310_135750.jpgIMG_20220310_135754.jpgIMG_20220310_135806.jpgIMG_20220310_135832.jpg
 

BonsaiMatt

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Collect as many as you can, you won't regret it (well, maybe your back will). Even the lousy ones might have decent material to air layer off the top.

If they need to be gone by October, best bet will be to dig them up soon, when the buds are swelling.
 

rockm

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If I was presented with such an opportunity, I would skip trying to "half circle" the trees--by splitting it up inspring and summer you're just weakening the trees. Fall collection is iffy....I'd just go in (as buds swell) and excavate the roots down about three inches on the trees you want. See if there are any side (lateral) roots with feeders. keep those (but minus the soil) and saw the trunk below them.

Collecting these selectively is going to be a pain in the ass, since you're probably going to find roots are fused together in a lot of places. That can work out, mostly it doesn't. Only way to know is to get in their andstart scraping the dirt away to see what you're dealing with.

I've collected American Beech, but not European Beech. Generally, you can treat A.Beech like most other tough deciduous trees at collection-- move out from the trunk six inches, saw roots, then down five or six inches, saw the roots. Don't really have to worry all that much about keeping native soil (the less the better). If you get a few feeder roots, things work out better.
 

FinnLakk

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If I was presented with such an opportunity, I would skip trying to "half circle" the trees--by splitting it up inspring and summer you're just weakening the trees. Fall collection is iffy....I'd just go in (as buds swell) and excavate the roots down about three inches on the trees you want. See if there are any side (lateral) roots with feeders. keep those (but minus the soil) and saw the trunk below them.

Collecting these selectively is going to be a pain in the ass, since you're probably going to find roots are fused together in a lot of places. That can work out, mostly it doesn't. Only way to know is to get in their andstart scraping the dirt away to see what you're dealing with.

I've collected American Beech, but not European Beech. Generally, you can treat A.Beech like most other tough deciduous trees at collection-- move out from the trunk six inches, saw roots, then down five or six inches, saw the roots. Don't really have to worry all that much about keeping native soil (the less the better). If you get a few feeder roots, things work out better.
Thanks for the info! From the limited research I had done it seemed they liked the autumn collections more.

I might have to miss out on this then sas I'm currently nursing a ruptured miniscus so crawling around on my knees is currently out of the question unfortunately
 

rockm

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Thanks for the info! From the limited research I had done it seemed they liked the autumn collections more.

I might have to miss out on this then sas I'm currently nursing a ruptured miniscus so crawling around on my knees is currently out of the question unfortunately
Don't know what you're reading, but fall collection is not really optimal for most species. Fall collection complicates the process for any collected temperate zone tree, as the tree has to sit on cut roots, not growing for months. Depending on your ability to keep the tree frost-free, yet dormant, it can suffer from wet freezing weather that can kill portions of the tree's root and top.
 

FinnLakk

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Don't know what you're reading, but fall collection is not really optimal for most species. Fall collection complicates the process for any collected temperate zone tree, as the tree has to sit on cut roots, not growing for months. Depending on your ability to keep the tree frost-free, yet dormant, it can suffer from wet freezing weather that can kill portions of the tree's root and top.
I find it very hard to find any information when it comes to collecting material. It must have been related to the general transplanting of younger trees.

Going to attempt this throughout next week as i can do most of it sitting on my ass and shouldn't cause my knee too much grief. Any recommendations on tools? I have a fair amount of general gardening stuff, and a root slayer spade on order.
 

Colorado

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I find it very hard to find any information when it comes to collecting material. It must have been related to the general transplanting of younger trees.

Going to attempt this throughout next week as i can do most of it sitting on my ass and shouldn't cause my knee too much grief. Any recommendations on tools? I have a fair amount of general gardening stuff, and a root slayer spade on order.

Reciprocating saw!!!
 

TinyArt

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It may be in your plan anyway -- I'd take a friend along for company, and to do the lifting & carrying to/from the car -- you might collect more that way, as well, for the price of a lunch!
 

FinnLakk

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If I was presented with such an opportunity, I would skip trying to "half circle" the trees--by splitting it up inspring and summer you're just weakening the trees. Fall collection is iffy....I'd just go in (as buds swell) and excavate the roots down about three inches on the trees you want. See if there are any side (lateral) roots with feeders. keep those (but minus the soil) and saw the trunk below them.

Collecting these selectively is going to be a pain in the ass, since you're probably going to find roots are fused together in a lot of places. That can work out, mostly it doesn't. Only way to know is to get in their andstart scraping the dirt away to see what you're dealing with.

I've collected American Beech, but not European Beech. Generally, you can treat A.Beech like most other tough deciduous trees at collection-- move out from the trunk six inches, saw roots, then down five or six inches, saw the roots. Don't really have to worry all that much about keeping native soil (the less the better). If you get a few feeder roots, things work out better.
This is where I got the info from! I knew it wasn't just generic trsansplanting https://bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/AT Collecting Deciduous Trees In Autumn Fall.html
 

rockm

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Then have at it. You seem to want to do it.

FWIW, early spring is by far the most successful season to collect in...ask just about any actual collector.
 

Wood

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No advice from me, just that I'm jealous of some of those trunks. The first two pictured are gorgeous
 

FinnLakk

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mini excavator with a sliter blade have them out less then a hour take them all and sell what you don’t want.
My brother is a groundworker I wonder if he has access to a slitter blade... Dug 3 up so far and I'm fuckin knackered
 

FinnLakk

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Then have at it. You seem to want to do it.
I definitely want the trees but the timing couldn't be worse 🙃 such is life, nothing worth having comes easy.
FWIW, early spring is by far the most successful season to collect in...ask just about any actual collector.
I was under that impression for sure. I have yet to come across collectors in the UK to pick their brains
 

Theo Smith

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Reciprocating saw!!!
Ohh boy, I couldn’t agree more. I picked up an inexpensive, battery powered one just for collecting trees. I’ve since added a backup battery and 12” blades. I recommend some gloves, sharp shovels, pinch point bar (wrecker bar), come along, hand saw and a reciprocating saw. @FinnLakk Maybe, you can bribe someone else to help you as well? Good luck! That’s cool looking material.
 

Colorado

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Ohh boy, I couldn’t agree more. I picked up an inexpensive, battery powered one just for collecting trees. I’ve since added a backup battery and 12” blades. I recommend some gloves, sharp shovels, pinch point bar (wrecker bar), come along, hand saw and a reciprocating saw. @FinnLakk Maybe, you can bribe someone else to help you as well? Good luck! That’s cool looking material.

Come along is a great idea!
 

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