My family and I bought our first home this year with a couple acres of woods around it. As us tree folk tend to do, I wondered around several times looking for local native species that I could work with.
Today the kids were content and I stared at the hillside too long with nothing better to do. My hands were itching to get dirty.
Here in Southwest Virginia, American Beech are everywhere. Fall isn’t the most popular time for digging but I’ve had many forum friends with success this time of year. Within 10 or 15 minutes I found many trees that looked like they may be workable, but unfortunately, most were sucker growth from larger trees nearby.
The smaller tree at the far left was one I had my eye on.
As I got the leaves raked away, I could see it had no roots of its own. I did some research and read this was very common in thick cover as they can’t survive the competition when growing from seed.
So, I continued my search while enjoying the nice weather with some good company. My old man Buzz…
And the new guy in town, Lego.
Better hide yo girl…
I came across another good looking tree.
I liked this one because of the way it grew on the edge of the bank. It had less competing roots and thought it would be easy to get out.
I cut the backside and realized that it was also a sucker growth. But since I already had it out of the ground, I decided to cross my fingers and hope for the best.
It did have some of its own roots but I’m not sure if there were enough. Time will tell.
I found a few others that I decided to dig. While not mind-blowing, now that I am back in VA for good, I want to work with local trees. These will help me learn how to manage American Beech since I’ve never had one before.
The one on the far left seemed to be the best candidate for work next year. It had low branching, some taper, and was unique with the smaller dual trunk.
Roots could have been better, but I had less on others I found today. I grabbed a pond basket, got it wired in with a turface/perilite/pumice mix, and chopped it back a bit.
In all, I potted up 4 trees after digging 6. The other 2 didn’t have enough roots to waste the time and supplies on.
Keep your fingers crossed for me and I’ll update next Spring if they make it.