Beeches: Copper beech seed pods

Discussion in 'Fagaceae (beeches, oaks, etc.)' started by norm harder, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. norm harder

    norm harder Member

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    We have had a mature copper beech tree in our yard for the 7 years we have lived here, but have NEVER seen the tree develop seed pods before. This last Fall there were THOUSANDS of hairy-like pods that cracked open and fell to the ground, and THOUSANDS more still hanging onto bare limbs this Spring. My question is:
    "how come we never saw the tree go into its reproductive cycle before this year?" Do they seed only every so many years or what?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Maybe it wasn't old enough. How mature is "mature", in this instance? Copper beech seedlings are raised and planted, these wouldn't be expected to flower as small as grafted clonal cultivars.
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Beech does have mast years, but there is usually smaller crops inbetween. Maybe you only noticed it for the first time because this year it was such a heavy crop, whereas in the previous 6 years it only had smaller crops that weren't so conspicuous? Would you have noticed if there was only a scattering of cupules (the technical name for the 'pods'!) on the tree?
     
  4. norm harder

    norm harder Member

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    Thanks for the replies. To answer one question, the tree must be about 20+ years old, and we have been here since 2001, with NO seed 'cupules' ever seen before. I know there might have been one or two small ones that I missed sometime, but I doubt it. This year the cupules almost formed a ''blanket'' on the ground, there were so many.

    The tree is planted near (and growing into a huge 'cedrus deodora' which itself has created huge cones that flake like the dickens and create a huge mess. Last year, however, the deodora hardly had any cones....it was the beech that went nuts.

    Still looking for more explanations...
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Continues to appear that it did not reach sexual maturity until now. A large-growing tree could easily take more than 20 years to start flowering.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yep, when I saw the statement 'mature', I took that to mean maybe 50 years or more. Age 20 isn't really mature for a beech! It is the sort of age where I'd expect the first good seed production, though.

    PS spellcheck: deodara
     
  7. Garth Kidd

    Garth Kidd New Member

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    I bought my current house in London Ontario with it's 1-acre garden in 1965 and I planted a copper beech south of the house as a 4-foot whip in 1966. Today it is roughly 70 feet high, has a 29-inch caliper, and is flourishing. In the autumn of 2013, for the first time ever, I was astonished to find the lawn and ground-cover under this copper beech covered with thousands of seed pods. London is located on the boundary between zones 5 and 6. There us only one causal circumstance I can think of for this singular event. In the summer of 2012 we received only about half our usual rainfall.
     

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