The Big Debate

019A friend asked me why my beech hedge keeps its brown leaves all winter and only casts them off in May whereas the beech tree in the corner of my garden sheds all its leaves in winter. I don’t know! I am pretty sure that beech hedges and trees start out the same so why do they behave so differently?

Is it perhaps that we trim our beech hedges in August? Is it because trimming the hedge dwarfs the plant and this causes it?


3 thoughts on “The Big Debate

  1. I am not exactly sure why your Beech is doing that. However, I have two Dogwood trees in my garden. One is healthy with green leaves the other one is unhealthy and has fungal problems etc. The healthy one sheds its leaves over the winter while the unhealthy one does not. I read somewhere that the leaves will stay on the plant if it has certain problems. I started spraying the Dogwoods and will continue to spray them during the dormant season with an organic antifungal. I am hoping this will help but I heard it can take a full year to see results. Good luck with your Beech!

  2. I think that I have an answer for you. Quite a few trees when young (including oaks) hold onto their leaves, it is thought as protection. As you are continually pruning your hedge it is forever young, whereas the tree is mature enough not to need this help. Hope this makes sense and is the truth!

  3. Thanks Gill, that’s an interesting theory. The reason often given is that the pruning in August promotes a new flush of leaves which are the ones retained over winter whereas the leaves formed earlier in the year naturally die and drop, hence the bare trees. I am not so sure though. I don’t clip my young purple beech particularly hard and yet it retains all its leaves.
    Confused of Cheltenham!

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