Lincoln Library Copper Beech

The Copper Beech is a majestic tree with a silver-gray, smooth trunk and deep purple foliage in the spring that changes to a copper hue by the fall. Its beauty has been the subject of many poems. Irish novelist Maeve Binchy even wrote a book entitled “The Copper Beech.”

The book is about the lives of 8 people who etched their dreams and desires into a large Beech tree on the last day of school. Even though fictional, Binchy’s book reminds us that all Beech trees are very sensitive. We shouldn’t walk over their roots, especially under the canopy — much less carve anything on their trunks. Trees seem so big and sturdy, but disturbing their space or harming their bark creates wounds that allow disease to enter.

Beeches grow slowly and develop into grand, low-maintenance shade trees. In their case, low-maintenance is a must. They suffer if pruned for more than dead branches. Also, the roots are sensitive to soil composition, so raking and mulching under them is a bad idea. The best way to care for a Copper Beech is to leave it alone as much as possible.

The Copper Beech is one of the many European Beech trees found in nature and nurseries. They are used to produce all sorts of objects. Their wood is very easy to carve, soak, dye, varnish and glue. This is why their wood became popular especially for furniture. Its hardness is ideal for making implements such as mallets and workbench tops.