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The Copper or Purple Beech tree, Fagus sylvatica Purpurea, is a natural variety of Green Beech with copper coloured young leaves that darken to purple-black. It is not quite as big as green beech and grows more slowly, but it is still only suitable for a large garden. Copper beech is suitable for any soil type as long as the drainage is good, including chalk, and it should be planted in full sun.
Purple Beech trees should reach a height of not more than 30 metres.
Standard trees are the largest size that we deliver; you can also buy younger Purple Beech saplings here.
How Standard Trees are Measured:
All the plants in the ornamental trees section are graded as standards, which means that they are measured by their girth in centimetres 1 metre above ground level (basically, their trunk's waist measurement). They aren't measured by their height, which will vary. So, a 6/8 standard has a trunk with a circumference of 6-8 centimetres and an 8/10 standard has a trunk 8-10 centimetres around. This measurement makes no difference to the tree's final height.
Standard trees are 2 - 3.5 metres tall (on average) when they arrive. We cannot tell you precisely how tall your trees will be before we deliver them.
Copper beech is the largest tree with purple leaves found in Britain. It's not quite as big as green beech, but mature specimens are just as impressive and the autumn colour has a richer orange hue to it. The small flowers aren't very noticeable and are pollinated by the wind. The seeds are small nuts, known as mast. These are great food for pigs, but horses should not be allowed to eat them.
Copper beech is lovliest in the spring, with its fresh copper-bronze leaves shine against the pale grey bark. It considered by some people to be a sombre, cheerless looking tree in midsummer, when its leaves turn purple-black in colour. While we don't really agree with that evaluation, we do recommend that you plant copper beech trees in full sun. This will both encourage the richest leaf colour and show off the tree to its best advantage.
Common green beech trees naturally produce the occasional purple-leaved seedling; these seedlings have been bred together to produce the modern varieties of copper beech. Our copper beech standards are reproduced by grafting from the best specimens, to ensure a rich, reliable leaf colour.
Copper or Purple Beech is listed variously in some books as Fagus sylvatica purpurea, atropurpurea or atropunicea. They are all the same tree.
View our full range of Beech Hedging & Trees