Beech hedging (Fagus sylvatica) is not grown for flowers or fruits, but its magnificent foliage of delicate fluttery leaves with wavy edges. The leaves begin with a subtle golden-green before becoming brighter and finally, a stunning coppery colour.
Strictly speaking, our native Beech is deciduous, but its crisp winter leaves, which stay on the plant until pushed off by the new bright green growth in spring, make it a great alternative to an evergreen hedge. Although this shrub is relatively fast-growing, at about 30-60cm per annum, Beech hedging maintenance is required, and we recommend trimming this plant in late summer/ early autumn. To keep up with beech hedging maintenance, clipping in early autumn is essential for some leaf coverage to be retained throughout winter.
Fagus sylvatica likes sun or partial shade and does well on almost any well-drained soil (acid or alkaline). Though it is appropriate for windy sites and is suitable as a dense windbreak hedge, it may not keep all of its winter leaves in very exposed (particularly coastal) positions.
Beech forms a super formal hedge but its also an excellent component in a native mixed hedge providing some winter colour and an important wildlife shelter when the remainder of the fully deciduous hedge loses its leaves.