Tri Color Beech for Summer color and winter bark

Last post, I recommended two purple leaf beech trees for the residential garden.  In it, I covered the purple fountain beech.  Now, I will cover the Tri color beech.

Tri Color Beech = Big Color Splash

The Tri color beech grows shaped more like a regular beech than the Purple Fountain beech, only smaller.  It has a rounded outline and if not pruned will grow branches from the ground up.  These look a lot more like a normal shaped tree than the Purple Fountain beech.

Tricolor beech spring foliage

My Tricolor beech in spring

Tri color beech screams specimen

It is not its shape that draws attention, but instead its unique leaf color.  You see it has a purple leaf with a variegation that has pale rose color.  Hence its name as ’Roseomarginata’.   The overall effect of the two color leaf is what appears to be a purplish pink tree.  The tree looks terrific when back lit by the rising or setting sun.

Tri color beech back lit

Back lit leaf
photo credit: Henry McLin via photopin cc

It works great as a tree next to a patio.  In fact the first one I ever saw that really wowed me was one at Rich’s Fox Willlow Pines in Woodstock that was sitting next to a patio.  It was probably about 20 feet tall and was a fabulous tree to sit next to and just stare at it.  I believe Rich donated it to a botanic garden or sold it, so it is no longer there.

The size of the Tri color beech will get to perhaps 30 feet high and 20 feet wide in most locations.  It might take two or three decades to get that size.  Depending of course upon how big it is when you plant it.  The edges of this tree’s leaves will burn in August unless it gets some afternoon shade.

Seasonal interest

Tri color beech has wonderful fresh late spring early summer purple pink leaf color.  The color fades in the sun of the summer and if not shaded the leaf edges will get a little shall we say “crispy”.  This does not hurt the tree, but it just looks better if it gets some afternoon shade.

It gets a light bronze fall color that is nice.  Mine does not tend to hold many leaves in the winter but perhaps a bit less summer sun may improve this.  The smooth gray bark gets provides winter interest once the tree gets larger.

Finch in beech tree

This tree is for the birds!
photo credit: Steve took it via photopin cc

Plant Details

Hardiness Zones:  Zone 4

Exposure:  Light shade.  Afternoon shade best.

Height:  20-30’

Width 10’-20’

Features: Striking purple foliage with irregular pinkish-white and rose borders, Ornamental Bark, Slow Growing.

Growth Habit:  Upright oval to rounded form.

Fall Color: Light tan/Bronze

Beech Tree Care and Growing Tips:

Water deeply as needed, particularly in hot, dry weather

Mulch them with a good bark mulch to retain moisture, BUT DON’T MOUND IT AGAINST THE TRUNK OR A BUNCH OF TREEHUGGERS WILL PICKET YOUR HOUSE AND HECKLE YOU ON TWITTER.  Well not really, but this post was getting a little boring.

Beeches are best pruned in late winter once the worst of winter has passed.

Deer don’t particularly care for beeches and will usually leave it alone.  It has few pest problems unless you are near areas where native beech forests have been decimated by beech bark scale.  If you are away from the woods or in Illinois or west, you should be fine.

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