Beeches: Largest 'Purpurea Tricolor' beech?

Discussion in 'Fagaceae (beeches, oaks, etc.)' started by MarkVIIIMarc, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. MarkVIIIMarc

    MarkVIIIMarc Active Member

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    After seeing two of these in different local parks I went out and mail-ordered one. I've read on different message boards they may grow sixty or so feet tall (20 meters) like the species.

    Does anyone have photos or a link to photos of an old tri-color? Or is cornus florida size about what I should expect? Also, does leaf color stay about the same?

    I understand Purpurea Tricolor has been in cultivation for approximately 120 years so one should be somewhere. Maybe I just am not googling in the right places.
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    Largest in Britain is 27m tall and 84cm trunk diameter.

    Leaf colour is good first thing in spring every year, but gets to look brown and burnt by mid to late summer.
     
  3. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    In my experience Beech are slow to establish and also slow rate of growth. Unless you're a teenager your expectations should probably be modest. I have a tricolor in the landscape it may be slow because it resents the heat of S.NJ. It's been in the ground about 9 years and last year it finally looked established. I planted it as a 6-7 ft B&B.
     
  4. MarkVIIIMarc

    MarkVIIIMarc Active Member

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    As typical for me I planted a small mail order specimen from a popular company in Oregon. When I first moved in I couldn't afford local nursery B&B's of everything I needed. Now I've just grown accustomed to the easier planting and quicker establishment of bare root or 1 gallon trees.

    If it grows a foot a year I'd be thrilled. My expectations are somewhat less. Personally I can't believe grafted trees ever get particularly large but obviously they do!
     
  5. MarkVIIIMarc

    MarkVIIIMarc Active Member

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    Michael, is that tree on the grounds of a botanical garden or in a private collection? Someplace I can look for a picture.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    Stourhead in Wiltshire (a huge National Trust garden). There'll be thousands of photos of Stourhead online, but they have tens of thosands of trees, so I wouldn't think there's much chance of finding a dedicated pic of that tree, unless it is in a particularly prominent position (sorry, i don't know myself if it is or not).
     
  7. MarkVIIIMarc

    MarkVIIIMarc Active Member

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    Thanks Michael. I will go looking.

    The ability for grafted trees to grow large just amazes me. Common crab apples and 20 foot tall pink dogwoods don't but the idea of an 80ft tall yellow metasequoia gold rush not breaking at the union is baffling.
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    There's a grafted Abies procera in Britain (grafted on Abies alba) 41 metres tall and 134 cm trunk diameter. That's the largest grafted tree I can recall reading of.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Maybe you can find a picture of one of these* 'Purpurea Tricolor' somewhere:

    100', Balaine near Villeneuve sur Allier, France (1973)
    88', Port Coquitlam, BC (1994)**
    72', Leonardslee, Sussex, England (1985)
    48', Montgomery County, PA (1980)
    48', Spokane, WA (1993)

    *From Jacobson, North American Landscape Trees (1996, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley)

    **Presumably at Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam
     
  10. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years of Activity

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    Were you wondering if the leaf color remains the same over the span of its life, or throughout the year?

    I've seen a few that are over 30 or more years old, and the spring and summer color was about the same as younger ones, during the same season.
     
  11. MarkVIIIMarc

    MarkVIIIMarc Active Member

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    I'm curious about the leaf color. Thought I remember hearing as the tree becomes less vigorous in old age you get a little less pink in the spring and the white "ages" quicker.

    Mostly though I'm amazed by the thought of a large grafted tree, especially one with variegated foliage like this.

    There are pictures of big metasequoias all over creation. Folks just take leaf pics of 'Purpurea Tricolor' from underneath in the spring it seems.
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    Probably because it's the only time of year the foliage looks other than awful ;-)
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Turns into a copper beech with a weird pink glow. It seems big ones could be overlooked by those who might otherwise measure or photograph them, the pink component becoming too diminished to be noticed by the less initiated.

    Although the recurring reduction in visual impact of this tree after purchase and planting out has been a source of mystification and befuddlement, this phenomenon is far from unique. For example, numerous conifer cultivars also become less colorful after growing beyond nursery sizes. Somehow propagation brings the color effect back out for a time, in the propagules.
     
  14. poiuy704

    poiuy704 Member

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    There is one that was measured at 110 feet with a 45 foot spread in 2004 at the Ag Canada research station in Agassiz. Planted in the late 1890's.
     
  15. MarkVIIIMarc

    MarkVIIIMarc Active Member

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    Poiuy, if you are ever over there snap a picture for me. I can't find it ANYPLACE on the internet.

    I found the Ag center in a satellite photo on Google. Searched their website w/o any luck.

    Any idea where this tree is on their grounds? I'm trying to even catch a glimpse on Google Earth.

    Wonder if it would be taking things too far if I called them in the morning lol
     

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  16. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    If information correct, tree would be a world record - I wouldn't worry about calling.
     
  17. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    Google Earth's footage cleverly taken in April, so no leaves ;-)

    Google Streetview shows some copper beeches in and around the site, but nothing visibly huge, and two close to the road (not actually on the ag. site) are normal copper beeches, not 'P.T.'.
     

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