May 6, 2006
Dawyck Purple Beech
the day she arrived in the mail. This is Gregory's first tree planting project.


Dawyck Purple Beech
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Facts at a Glance
Fagus sylvatica -
'Dawyck Purple'

Planted May 2006
Planting height: 16"
Planting trunk: 0.5"

2007 Update
1-yr height: ?"
1-yr trunk: ?"

Mature Height: 50 to 75'
Spread: 10 to 35'
Growth rate: Slow
Form: Columnar
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Fall color: Copper
Hardiness zone: 4 - 7
Culture: Sun/part shade

Best feature:
Fits in small space

Worst problem:
Don't know yet

Do over? So far, yes

Checking In on My Babies

Go aWAY, You Bug You!

Dishing the Dirt With Kathryn

Lifeguard of the Beech: Sink or Swim With God's Help

Just in Time for Arbor Day, Tree Blogger Bought the Beech


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A Tree Grower's Diary
'Dawyck Purple' Beech


Photographs and text by Julie Walton Shaver

Leaf right out of the box


Key identifying features.. Purple or copper ovate leaves.

Common name.. Dawyck Purple Beech

Scientific name.. Fagus sylvatica - 'Dawyck Purple'

Mature height.. 50 to 75 feet

Mature spread.. 10 to 35 feet

Form.. Columnar, upright, symmetrical

Fruit.. Brown oval nut, half-inch to an inch in size with a dry, hard covering; attracts birds and is suited for human consumption but presents no significant litter problem.

Flowers.. Spring flowers are inconspicuous.

Foliage.. Deciduous; purple leaves in sun, green in shade, turning to bronze in summer and fall. Leaves are simple, alternate, ovate and are 2 to 4 inches in length.

Leaf on May 9, 2006. Is the fuzz a factor of youth? Guess we'll find out.

Growth rate.. Slow. (See the growth chart for pictures, but you might want to bookmark this page and come back in about 10 years!)

Hardiness zones.. 4 through 7

Culture.. Full sun or part shade, grows in many soil types.

Best time to prune.. (Still researching this answer.)

Fun Fact.. The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh features a unique 100-foot-tall Dawyck Purple Beech on its Beech Walk. According to their Web site, the tree "was found as a chance seedling in the woods to the east of the garden by Sir John Naesmyth, and he transplanted it to its present position in the grounds of Dawyck House."

The customized tree tag has my name on it!

Julie's Comments.. (May 2006) I needed a new project like I needed a hole in my head, but my tree hugger friend, Todd, convinced me to get a new tree to follow on my diary site. I have no room in my yard for a new tree, so he suggested I think to the future and find a tiny, slow-growing tree that I could keep in a container for at least a few years. In tribute to my all-time favorite tree, the purple European beech that used to live near my house, I finally decided on this columnar cultivar of that tree. After I placed the order with Forest Farm in Oregon, I immediately had buyer's remorse. Why was I buying a new tree? I have no room! But when it arrived today, I peeked inside the box, finding the most perfect little tree I've ever seen. I immediately fell in love.

Click here for the Dawyck Purple Beech Journal

Planting date.. May 2006. Not officially planted yet. The sapling is 18" tall and has a trunk measuring about 0.5" around. The tree needs a few days to acclimate to her new home environment after spending more than a week inside a box. She was shipped from Oregon on April 27 and arrived at my doorstep on May 6 with soil that was still moist and leaves that looked absolutely perfect. By the way, the packing of the tree for shipping was obviously done with serious attention to detail by the people at Forest Farm. This little tree has already come a long way in life!

DO OVER?.. Yes.


See Julie's Dawyck Purple Beech Journal
See the Dawyck Purple Beech growth chart
Read the latest Tree Grower's Diary blog entry

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