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Beech Update

A while back, I posted some photos of how my American beech (Fagus grandifolia) is getting along with recovery from the wound I inflicted upon it.

I had decided that there was risk of included bark developing between an already large branch and the trunk of my beech tree, so with considerable ambivalence, I removed the branch. That left a large wound on the tree, which I understood would result in some rot within the trunk, but then again, trees can be wonderfully adept at compartmentalizing decay.

Here’s an illustration of the barrier zone that a tree can construct, via internal alterations in the chemistry of its cells, to wall off infection from otherwise healthy wood inside the tree:

Source: In Defense of Plants

What I have been watching on the exterior of my beech is the slow growth of what’s initially called callus tissue and later, as the callus becomes tougher and stronger, woundwood. The hope is that this continuing growth of woundwood will ultimately seal off the interior of the tree from further exposure to organisms that cause decay.

As you can see, the tree is making good progress. I’d tell you that I’m really proud of it, but then I don’t want to encourage any vanity in my beech. It’s already the queen of the backyard, and the red maples, tulip poplars, and pecans all know it.

The Poetry of Trees

In my backyard stands an American beech (Fagus grandifolia), 20 years old.

American beech (photo from November 2018)

I know it’s two decades old because it was a gift to my wife from her sister on her 40th birthday in 1991. It’s meant to remind her of the copper beach (Fagus sylvatica f. purpurea) that grew in front of their childhood home near Philadelphia.

On any given day, American beech is my favorite tree. Why? Well, obviously, it’s that smooth, gray bark that draws the eye in a forest of furrowed, ridged, warty, and scaly trees.

Beech tree (center) in Springvale Park
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