Thursday, January 8, 2009


Not the tree of knowledge from the Bible, but the word Beech is from where the word book is derived. Early book manuscripts in Europe used the thin bark of the European Beech as writing paper. In America our native American Beech graces our forests. The same thin smooth bark has called many to carve their initials, or love, or hunting stories such as one Daniel Boone in many of these trees. The outline of older trees look as though they are cast out of molten pewter. The leaves after changing colors to finally a pleasing tan can hold on until the next set appears in the spring giving even more character to these trees. They are found in many places but seem to prefer a hillside to grace us with their imposing structures. The tree in the picture is one of the two largest I have found in Northern Iredell county and is on the property of our good friend Mabel Stack.

1 comment:

  1. What a magnificant example of the American Beech. I've seen another not quite this large at the home of Elaine Steele, just outside her second story dining room windows. Iwas able to reach out and embrace the branches from the wrap around walkway on the outside.
    Most of our native wildlife and flora is in grave danger of habitat loss from development. As I stated in my November article in Statesville Living Magazine entitled "Preparing For a Long Winter's Nap', our state is losing several hundred acres a day to dvelopment according to statistics provided by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. I believe the number is proportionately higher in Iredell County. We MUST be proactive in our efforts to slow down habitat loss. Planting native species just makes sense ecologically. A native plant or tree can support nearly 65 more native animal species than a non-native. Native plants consume far less water once established, and adapt well to the climate. On average, it takes between 6 months and 1 year for a native to become fully adjusted to both climate and annual rainfall.
    The climate in the Piedmont area of N.C. mirrors that of Asia where many of the popular non-natives which dot our landscapes hail from. Examples are forsythia, some azaeleas,butterfly bush,etc. Then we have those species which devastate the natural terrain such as kudzu. Am I suggesting completely erradicating these species in our landscapes? Certainly not. The butterfly bush is an inexpensive way to quickly attract hummers and butterflies to your yard. It is beautiful and prolific in growth. However some natives such as milkweed, serve as host plants for emerging Monarch butterflies. Migratory wildlife travel between the ranges of plants they rely on to produce food. In short, the way we choose to garden and manage our property has a direct effect on the survival of our wildlife.
    Start by adding some hardy native trees and shrubs to your landscape this spring, such as the American Beech. be sure to consider the mature size of the specimen and other considerations such as drainage , light requirements before planting. Greta features on this blog! I'll be back, Kevin.

    Lisa E. Carver
    Habitat Steward and Host
    National Wildlife Federation