As a tall and graceful tree, European beech can live for centuries. Its good looks can also be adapted to a smaller garden as a hedge, and it mingles well with other natives as a wilder mixed barrier.
Faster growing than American beech (F. grandifolia), European beech commands respect in a landscape but is just as happy in the woods (the sylvatica part of its name comes from the Latin word silva, which means “forest”). With dozens of cultivars (see our Copper Beech Tree guide), European beech also will remain good-natured if you pleach, clip, or train it as a topiary. A beech hedge that is trimmed will retain its foliage in winter, creating an opaque screen.