Copper Beech - Fagus Sylvatica 'Purpurea'

Fagussylvatica 'Atropurpurea'

Purple beech (Fagussylvatica 'Atropurpurea') is a beautiful hedging variety that boasts of glossy foliage in purple and dark green shades. The plant, which is also known as Copper Beech, makes a wonderful option to an evergreen hedge. Its foliage turns to copper and maintain the color during the winter, making Copper Beech one of the few hedge plants that offer all year round interest and privacy.

Growing a Blutbuche (Fagussylvatica 'Atropurpurea') hedge

Fagussylvatica 'Atropurpurea' offers the same hedging qualities as the Green Beech variety, but the mid-zed foliage of this particular plant has dark shades of purple and green rather than mid-green, thus creating a fantastic purple hedging feature. Inland and coastal exposure is not a problem for the copper beech, although it may lose some of the winter color in extreme harsh conditions.

Why you should grow a purple beech hedge

Purple hedge has many great features that you would like to see in your hedge. Here are a few reasons for growing a purple beech hedge:

  • A purple beech hedge is tough
  • It is also easy to grow
  • Its provides great screening and privacy because of its foliage that remains on the branches until spring
  • Looks beautiful when neatly trimmed and equally striking when left alone to take a more natural look
  • It is one of the most popular varieties of Beech hedging used for formal garden planting
  • Its dark green foliage contrasts beautifully against bright colored plants and healthy lawns
  • It is a fairly low maintenance hedge plant as you only need to prune once a year
  • It has a fast growth rate, which is great for people who want to create a compact hedge in no time
  • It can tolerate a wide range of soils, except waterlogged soils
  • It can be cut to any height and width you desire

Where to grow

Purple beech in an amazing tree, but often grown as a hedge, enjoying full sun or partial shade and great for creating garden.  The leaves turn golden brown and remain that way throughout the winter. Being a versatile woodland, purple wood grows well in moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It is also happy on chalky soils.

How to plant

As you probably know, any hedge plant must be planted well to establish quickly and grow into a good-looking, thick hedge. The planting process is quite simple. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Water the plants deeply in their clods
  2. Choose a suitable planting location and get rid of weeds in the area to eliminate competition for water and nutrients
  3. Dig a trench twice as wide and same height as the clod. It is important to ensure that both sides of the trench are straight
  4. Loosen the base of the trench mix in some compost
  5. Alternatively, you can mix some soil from the trench with well-rotten manure
  6. Place the plant in its clod in the trench and ensure that the top of the clod doesn’t protrude above the ground surface level
  7. Fill back the soil as you firm with your hands or feet
  8. Water deeply during the first growing season

Tips

Don’t plant purple beech on waterlogged soil

It is suitable for a formal hedge

If your site is damp, you will want to choose another variety

Don’t cut the hedge on warm days to prevent the leaves from burning

Spacing

Spacing is one of the most important yet not given much consideration in hedging. It is important that you space your purple beech plants correctly to create a nice hedge. Generally, the spacing distance for purple beech is two to three plants per meter.

Care & Advice

  • Soil improvement

It is important that you improve the soil before planting. Think of mixing compost into the soil.

  • Fertilizing

Like other hedge plants, you need to feed your purple beech with a special fertilizer that is meant for garden plants. Many people use organic fertilizer because it helps in the natural growth of the hedge. The fertilizer contains Epsom salt and magnesium for intense leaf color and also prevents the premature withering of leaves.

You only need to fertilize once a year because organic fertilizer has long term effect. It is important that you feed the hedge before cutting so that new leaves scan develop fast.

  • Pruning

When pruning your purple hedge, the underside should be a bit wider that the top. This will ensure that the whole plant receives enough light from the sun. Trim from the bottom to the top to cut the whole hedge. You should only cut the top after cutting the sides. Trimming should be followed by feeding because the plants will recover better when fertilized

It is recommended to prune purple beech only once a year and the best time to do this is around 21st of June. If you prefer cutting the hedge twice a year, it is good to do that at the end of May and Aug.

It is also important that you use clean cutting tools, and when trimming, make sure that you hand the power cord on your shoulders.

Advantages

  • Has colorful foliage
  • All year round interest
  • Fast growing
  • Grows in many types of soils
  • Can be planted a lone
  • Creates a beautiful purple hedging feature
  • Easy to grow
  • Tough
  • Looks beautiful when trimmed

Should I buy purple beech for hedging?

The answer to this question is a YES. Purple beech has proven to be one of the best hedge plants you can glow. Its foliage is beautiful and creates an all year interest. If you are the kind of person that prefers a hedge plant that is easy to grow, easy to maintain, then this is the perfect plant for you.

It only requires trimming and fertilizing once a year. The fact that it is a fast-growing plant means that you can create a thick, compact hedge in a short time provided you grow it under optimal conditions. It tolerates many types of soils, including chalky soils, but it dislikes waterlogged soils. So, when watering, you wouldn’t want to overdo it.