Has anyone ever done a severe chop on a copper beech?

Gsquared

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Wondering if anyone has reduced a large beech with a major chop? I saw one at a nursery and it doesn’t really have any branches on the lower part of the trunk where you’d want them. Root base and flare are good though. The first branch is about 16-18” up, so that would be the lowest to chop you could make I think. Would require further reduction after that in subsequent years. Anyone tried this?
 

TN_Jim

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I collected three in the woods this late winter. They are all 1.5 - 2.5” base, all chopped at about 3’ with 1-4 branches each (mostly high up).

These all started leafing out about two weeks ago and appear healthy, leaves full. I found this thread because I’m sitting next to them wondering next best approach, and damn those leaves gotta get smaller..

So, to answer your question, and maybe get at another one, chopped all three keeping at least two branches...so far no sign of desired back budding, though I have hope...Makes me really wonder, would they be producing buds if I had cut them at an ideal height, thereby sacrificing those presently healthy branches that now may be telling my trees.."why would we back bud, I got leaves and I'm going up!?

It was a sort of gamble to play it safe keeping branches, but I wonder if safe was really the best; because, further reduction is certainly in their future, and potentially unwarranted.
 

Gsquared

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My experience with beeches is my European beech, which I've had for 20+ years, and a Japanese beech, which was killed by a marauding raccoon. I had chopped and grown new apexes on both, but the leaders and branches below the cut were pretty much in place. I don't know if beeches readily sprout from older wood or not. I have had them send out the occasional new bud from the trunk, but I've never done anything too drastic with them because they only do one push of growth per year. Because of the single flush growth, I've figured they might not pop buds like a maple or elm.

I'd love to hear more about how yours are progressing. I wouldn't worry about leaf size until you get the branches you want to keep. Keep me posted!
 

mwar15

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I have a red river beech I think the name was. It was bare rooted and chopped and it's doing well.
It is the one on the right in the picture.
 

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TN_Jim

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This (link) suggests the selective pruning can encourage back budding among other advantages, the chops are legit however slow these may be..really is a very informative read. http://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Beechadvancedpruning.htm

@mwar15, may be onto something going bold and low, but I am not frustrated with my caution..yet, can't say I'm not tempted to test this too with a hard 'low' chop on one in the future. So, it is possible to get more than one flush of leaves with any luck. Also, I think @JudyB possibly may have an idea on this..to chop..or not to chop - above or below highish branches..

For the record, I am not too familiar with Copper Beech, mine are F. grandiflora ('merica), but these species including F. slyvatica (euro'; link) don't seem incredibly different. I am curious about what these differences are though, and how this translates in application of techniques..?

So far I see no indication of any new buds on mine, am wondering the cause of some minor leaf-edge browning on one (esp. taller one, too soon on fertilizer??), am happily patient as well. Here's the ones I collected by trenching and getting underneath with camp saw and pruners. They are not as tall in reality as I thought they are, but still..same ballpark. I bare rooted them gently but not excessively (every little dime clumps) with the hose, and put in #8822. The tall one (most leaf-edge browns??) has 1/4 sifted bark. Water once a day usually with the shower hose.

IMG_3061.JPGIMG_3062.JPGIMG_3065.JPGIMG_3066.JPG

This one I am puzzled what to do with and still very much wanting to thrive, wouldn't exactly call a 'chop' -cut was ~1cm, but its definitely the most vigorous, also had the most buds. It was on a nearly vertical wall under what/is an area of VERY dense shade, that said it is kind of the relative opposite of the other two.

Hope this helps in some degree. Looking forward to how this thing unwinds and your choices. Something about this species is really nice, I grew up around them, they get huge, can spot them in a crowd in winter, habitat indicator, want to keep the bark as flawless as possible to some degree..so far very neat tree.
 

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JudyB

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I would say that you have little to loose here if you chop it low. In other words, the trunk has little interest, as it has no taper and no movement. I would go for it personally. At the correct time of course.
 

TN_Jim

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So you're saying that gambling on this back budding in desirable lower locations is not recommended; also, would the ideal time to chop be next winter? Thanks much, @JudyB.
 

JudyB

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I would feed it well and let it gain much strength this summer. I don't know your protection scheme, but if you have good cold storage you could chop this fall after leaf drop.
 

TN_Jim

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I would feed it well and let it gain much strength this summer. I don't know your protection scheme, but if you have good cold storage you could chop this fall after leaf drop.
Thanks again for the much valued and needed insights! I will be emplementing them. :)
 

Gsquared

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But would you chop it below all foliage? For some reason, I think it needs a little something below the cut. If it was an elm or maple or zelkova I probably would hesitate. But for some reason I feel more cautious about a beech.
 

M. Frary

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I chopped about 1000 American beech this week.
They won't be sprouting anytime soon.
Some were 20 inches in diameter.

They all had to go. Every tree on the property has a thing the forrester calls beech bark fungus. A white substance on the bark. It seems to be getting more prevalent here.
Anyone else seen this?
 

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