Beech seed collecting

BoneSci

Sapling
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Hi All,

I have an emormous copper beech with beautiful dark purple leaves in my yard. For the first time in 10 years it has a ton of nuts on it and I am patiently waiting for October for the seeds to drop. I'd love to start a forest from them. However, I noticed yesterday that some of the nuts are already dropping. I know the tree can eliminate seeds, ecpecially since it has recently become hot with less rain, but the nuts that are dropping are already curled open exposing the seeds as if they were ripe. Can this be? Are these worth saving or should I hope that there are enough remaining in October to harvest.
Thanks,

Chris
 

Mike423

Shohin
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As long as they all look ripe and fertile collect as many as you want. The more you plant the more chance you'll have of getting a better amount to sprout. Don't forget to cold stratify the seeds though, if you collect enough you can just find a good spot in the yard or garden and plant them to sit over winter in, you should have at least a couple sprout in spring. On the other hand if there is some really special characteristic about the tree itself you would be better of taking cuttings so your new tree will be an exact clone. The seeds will be a cross pollination of any other birch trees in the area and the sprouted trees will have mixing characteristics possibly looking nothing like the tree you want.
 

Gene Deci

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I tried planting regular beech nuts from a tree in our neighbor's yard once and had poor success rate. i stratified them in a jar and I now understand I probably should have had them in soil. In any case I didn't try it again because I found a number of seedlings in the hedge and a few other hidden places. If you look around carefully you may find all you want.
 
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BoneSci

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Thanks guys. In ten years I've only found one seedling as I mow the grass all around it. Most years it doesn't develop seed at all, and if it gets beechnuts with seeds, many times the seeds are hollow. This year for whatever reason (we had an especially hard winter?) the tree is loaded.

Although MIke you bring up a good point. I doubt there are other copper/purple beech in the area, it is mostly farmland and native woods. The seed could most likely be a cross with native American beech. I'll give it a shot anyways, and hope for the nice dark purple leave color as I have never seen a beech bonsai with these purple leaves so I think it could be cool (even is the leaves can be large). The leaves contrast so nicely with the smooth silvery grey trunk.

Thanks again,

Chris
 

Vance Wood

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Thanks guys. In ten years I've only found one seedling as I mow the grass all around it. Most years it doesn't develop seed at all, and if it gets beechnuts with seeds, many times the seeds are hollow. This year for whatever reason (we had an especially hard winter?) the tree is loaded.

Although MIke you bring up a good point. I doubt there are other copper/purple beech in the area, it is mostly farmland and native woods. The seed could most likely be a cross with native American beech. I'll give it a shot anyways, and hope for the nice dark purple leave color as I have never seen a beech bonsai with these purple leaves so I think it could be cool (even is the leaves can be large). The leaves contrast so nicely with the smooth silvery grey trunk.

Thanks again,

Chris
Again; I have never tried to grow Beech from seed but from what I understand from those who have, they tend to have fertile seeds every other year. I don't know why this is so but I would suggest that anyone trying to grow this tree to do it over a two season period.
 

garywood

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Got to agree with Vance here, beech are a bitch :D Ya gotta just keep on trying. year after after year
Wood
 

Mike423

Shohin
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I again would strongly suggest growing cuttings which is in my experience very easy. Having a seedling with the same characteristics of the parent tree is like playing the lottery. In a cutting you will also have a year or two ahead in growth compared to if you grew it from seed. As far as leaf size reduction keep in mind most trees can have their size reduced to about 1/3 their normal size so keep that in mind when considering what type of size classification you would like to grow your Bonsai as.
 

BoneSci

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Thanks Mike, when do you take cuttings from Beech? Do you by any chance have a reference for the conditions needed? I would love to take cuttings rather than or in addition to seed, but I always considered beech nearly impossible to propagate by cuttings, but I don't know where I got this impression. I typically root japanese maple cuttings and admittedly have never tried the beech (other than trying some seedling cutting of Fagus sylvatica to eliminate the tap root).

Thanks again everyone for your comments!
Chris
 
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