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njc110381

Beech tree advice needed

Question

Hey guys. I've got a tree that I would really like to keep, but unfortunately I think it's going to take a lot of work as the people who planted it didn't really think ahead!

 

It's a Copper Beech, currently about 30 feet tall with a trunk about 14-16" diameter. Now the problem is it's approxiately 15 feet from the house. I know how big these things can get so I need some advice.

 

Pretty much, if I keep on top of it by regular pruning can I keep it from getting too much bigger, or at least slow it down a lot? I know it's hard to reduce the size of a tree and keep it there, but if I attack it now is it possible to keep it at about the size it is?

 

This thought came to me in a customers garden - they have a Copper Beech that's pushing 100ft and the trunk is bloody huge! I know it will have taken longer than I have to get to that size, but even something half that size would ruin my house!

 

Can anyone offer me any advice? If there are any local guys on here I'd be happy to pay a few quid for a visit/advice.:thumbup1:

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I think you need to find a good local tree firm, who can carry out a nice reduction and then maintain it every 3 years or so.

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Ditto Skyhuck's suggestion. You might like to also consider planting a successor to the tree soon so that when you eventually have to remove your existing tree you already have an established replacement.

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If you have a pro help you, it should not become much of a problem. I planted 3 purple beech in an area 15 to 25 feet from our house, knowing they can stay there for a century or more as long as occassional pruning is done.

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If you have a pro help you, it should not become much of a problem. I planted 3 purple beech in an area 15 to 25 feet from our house, knowing they can stay there for a century or more as long as occassional pruning is done.

 

:thumbup1:

 

Beech can be maintained at your required size with regular pruning.

 

Thats why they are great for hedges, I've cut some that are decades old and the trunks are only 4" thick.

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i think the best thing to do is just a light crown thin, we carried out a 20% on 2 tree in a row of 6 a few years ago, now the 2 trees we reduced are bigger than the tree's that were left, there for leave it until it is a real problem befor reducing.

if light is problem try other meens of pruning such as a light thin around the crown and mayb a light crown lift depending if it hasnt been done already.

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The purists are gonna hate me but.

It's still quite a young tree and despite what the books say young beech trees respond quite well to pruning. And before you all start on me. Of course it has to be done carefully and you'll end up with a thicker foliar cover etc etc blah blah. We've managed trees and even gradually reduced the size down over a number of years.

As soon as you go down the road of management pruning you will need to be made aware of the ongoing/future issues and costs that will arise from canopy pruning. If it was in my garden and it was that close I'd probably give it a haircut. The other options are live with it getting bigger or remove and replant.

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don't think a thin is the way forward in this case, and tbh i don't think thins are overly beneficial to the tree unless done properly which in most cases they are unfortunately not.

 

There has been some good advice already posted here, regular pruning (reductions) over a 3-5 year cycle (again, done properly) will keep the tree at the size it is or a manageable size however big you want it, if you feel this isn't the way forward and in the future would like it removed plant another specimen and get that established first.

 

But in the end, it is your choice and you don't have to heed the advice given:biggrin:

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One thing I would bear in mind - at the moment if it hasn't been touched it looks like a natural tree. You've seen what it will look like if left alone - an extremely large natural tree. If you start down the route of pruning the one thing that is highly probable is that it won't look like a natural tree. Whether you like the look of a pruned tree or not is your call.

 

There are three types of pruning that could be done to keep it down to the size it currently is - one is a regular reduction to as close as possible to a natural shape - as has already been mentioned, once you start down this route you accept having it done every 3yrs or so and it will always be a bit more dense and look slightly 'clipped'. The second is called 'topping' which you really want to avoid for many reasons, but are liable to end up with from a non-reputable individual who is simply asked to reduce the size of the tree, as it's quick, easy and doesn't require much skill. The third is pollarding, which tends to result in much heated discussion, but if you google 'Burnham Beeches' and click on the images tab you get a sense at least of the size that beech trees can be kept to in a semi-natural state. Note that many of these have not been pollarded for a lot longer than they would have been under routine pollarding management. Some people love pollards, others hate them, to do it well on a beech would require a skilled arborist to assess the likelihood of success on your particular tree, so going that way would be the most challenging.

 

Alec

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