How is the beech fruit planted?

Beech fruit ripens in autumn

Image – Wikimedia/W. bulach

The beech is one of the deciduous trees that we can find in the forests of Europe. It grows at its own pace, which is usually rather slow, but it's not in a hurry: its life expectancy is around 400 years, so it has more than enough time to outperform its competitors, grow stronger and adapt. Likewise, it can also take a long time to flower; in fact, it does so from the age of 15.

Luckily once it starts, it will continue to do so every spring. So if you want to know how to plant beech fruit and thus get a seedling, then we will explain it to you.

What is the beech sowing time?

The beech is planted in autumn

Image – Wikimedia/Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors

El beech, whose scientific name is Fagus sylvatica, is a deciduous tree for a reason: their leaves are quite tender so if you were to keep them through fall and winter you would have to double your efforts to feed them, something that when temperatures are very low, is not convenient. Therefore, to save water and nutrients, stop feeding them during the fall, when the thermometer starts to drop below 15ºC.

Why am I telling you this? Because the beech needs it to be cold, that temperatures drop below 10ºC and that there are few differences between the maximum and the minimum during autumn and winter. Only then can the seeds germinate in spring. And that is why the beech planting season is autumn and winter: if temperatures remain high during the twelve months of the year, they will never sprout.

If the winter is mild but not too cold, that is, if winter temperatures remain, for example, between 15 and 5ºC, with occasional light frosts, it is best to plant them in a tupperware with coconut fiber and put them in the fridge during those months.

Seeds sown in tupperware
Related article:
How to stratify seeds step by step

What is the name of the beech fruit?

The fruit of the beech It is known by the name of hayuco and ends its development in autumn. It measures approximately 2 centimeters, and when it is still unopened it looks like a small ball covered with "hairs". At first they are green, but then they turn brown.

Inside it contains several seeds, also brown, that measure 1 centimeter and are hard.

How is it sown?

The beech is a tree that takes time to germinate

To sow the beech fruit, the first thing to do is wait for it to ripen. Once it does, it opens as if it were a flower, exposing the seeds. These, although they are very fresh if they are taken from the tree, do not have to be viable, therefore, I recommend putting them in a glass of water for a few minutes.

If doing so they sink, perfect, because they have many possibilities to germinate; but if they remain floating, it is most likely that they are not fertile and, therefore, they will not sprout (but if you wish, you can plant them separately. It would not be the first or the last time that a supposedly non-viable seed germinates).

Now you have to prepare the seedbed, which can be a pot or a tray with holes, or a tupperware if you live in an area where the winter is mild or warm. And as a substrate, I recommend using coconut fiber, which has a very low pH and maintains a lot of moisture, which is just what beech needs.

Once you have it, you have to do the following:

  • Planting in a pot or tray with holes: you simply have to fill them almost completely, and place the seeds separated from each other. Then, cover them with a very thin layer of substrate, and finally place them outside, in semi-shade.
  • Plant in a Tupperware: if you need to put them in the fridge to germinate, fill the tupperware with coconut fiber about half full, sow the seeds, and then cover them with more coconut fiber (you can buy it here!). Then, you have to insert the tupperware into the appliance, in the part where you put the eggs, milk, etc. There they have to be about three months, during which you will have to take them out once a week to open the container and thus get the air to renew.

How long does it take to germinate beech?

Typically, it takes about two to three months. since it is planted in a pot outside. Sometimes it can take longer if the seeds are from previous years and/or if the winter weather is too warm for it. In any case, for everything to go well, it is important to treat them with systemic fungicide from the beginning -you can buy it here!-, and continue doing so at least until the plant is one year old.

And it is that fungi do a lot of damage to seeds and young trees, to the point that they can kill them. To avoid this, or at least to minimize the risk of infection, fungicide should be applied every 10-15 days at dusk, when they are no longer exposed to direct sunlight.

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