Tri Color Beech Tree

The Tri Color Beech Tree - An Interesting Alternative

The Tri Color beech tree, Fagus Sylvatica Roseo-Marginata, is a lesser known variety of beech tree but can be a better choice for a small yard than the other beeches, which can often grow quite large. There are in fact two major varieties or cultivars of the tri color beech tree, the aforementioned Fagus Sylvatica Roseo-Marginata, and the Fagus Sylvatica Purpurea Tricolor, which is more closely related to the European beech tree, Fagus Sylvatica.


While there are some differences between the American beech tree, more often called the Beech Nut, and the European counterpart, all beech trees are deciduous. Most beech trees have green leaves which turn copper in the fall and although dead, tend to remain on the tree throughout the winter and into the spring, until new leaf sprouts begin to appear. If you have only beech trees on your property, leaf raking activities will peak in the springtime rather than in the fall. There is also an attractive variety of the European beech which has very dark purple leaves and makes an outstanding specimen tree. European beeches in general take well to being pruned and may be kept at shrub height when desired. The purple beeches have very thick foliage, making good places for nesting and security for songbirds, and larger birds as well, who sometimes feast on the beechnuts.

Leaves Of Many Colors - The leaves of the Tri Color beech tree are variegated, usually green with white, pink, or reddish borders or streaks. At times the leaves are almost a solid burgundy color, and some tri colors have leaves that are mostly purple. This can vary from tree to tree, so when a tri color is advertised, it pays to look into just what the colors are to avoid surprises. Surprises aren't apt to be unpleasant though, as all tri colors are very attractive. The color patterns can also vary somewhat from leaf to leaf. The tri color will blossom in the spring, though the tiny yellow-green flowers are not particularly noteworthy. The nuts are not as sweet as the American beechnut and, while edible, are considered to be mildly toxic. If you want to eat them, just don't eat too many at one time. Eating too many is usually not a problem however as they have a rather bitter taste. Some sources describe the nut as poisonous.

The Smallest Beech - We don't often see American beech trees in a private yard or garden due to their large size. They can attain a height of up to 80'. European beeches, which can often be found in nurseries, are somewhat smaller, though can grow quite large if planted in full sun and not pruned. A 30' European beech is not atypical. The Tri Color beech tree is the smallest of the beeches, seldom growing to a height of more than 20', though 30' and even 40' specimens have been reported. The tri color is an excellent shade tree, but is a slow grower, so after first planting one it may be a few years before it can be used for that purpose.

Growing Conditions - The Tri Color beech tree is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 7, and can survive winters where sub-zero temperatures may be encountered. The tree can either be planted in full sunlight or dappled sunlight, which is a better choice for areas having hot temperatures and drying winds. It will do well when planted with larger trees in the background offering protection, while not at the same time putting the Tri Color in deep shade. The tri color does not require any more water than do most other trees. As is the case with all trees, regular and sufficient watering is necessary during the first year or two of growth. The tri color can be considered to be a low maintenance tree.