European Beech

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The European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) is one of the most important native species in the UK. Beech saplings are collected and developed as bonsais, however, these trees require more time than usual bonsais to reach their full potential look. The trunks and development of ramification in the branches can take some time but the outcome results in a beautiful large-trunked bonsai. Many Beeches will have one major flush of growth each year during the month of May. During this month, Beech shoots will start to appear and buds will start to form.

The European Beech grows happily when in semi-shade or direct sunlight. However, they do require a position sheltered from the burning midday sun in the summer and from strong winds, both of these can cause the leaves to scorch and brown. Frost protection is very much required when temperatures reach -5°C or less. If put through in these conditions, the European Beech will require more generous amounts of water, especially if planted in a smaller pot.

Repotting is recommended every two years in the Spring as the buds extend - more mature specimens can be repotted as and when necessary. Knowing that the main growth period of this bonsai is in the Spring, pruning them when in their prime would improve the ramification of the branches. It is important to note that pinching out the growth tip after the second leaf emerges will greatly reduce the internodal length.

 

These are not seeds - But Actual Bonsai Tree

Please see our Choosing a Bonsai page, for the age and dimensions regarding the different stages of our Bonsai (Baby, Young, & Mature).

Soil (Substrate)

Bonsai soils are usually a mixture of organic potting compost (Pine Bark or Forest Floor), Akadamapumice, lava rock in varying amounts. 

It is important for the soil have good water retention while also draining well, along with very good aeration. The quality of the soil directly affects the health, size and growth of your tree. One of the worst things you can do to your tree is plant it in regular garden soil. Garden soil hardens when it drys and can often lead to a disadvantage when growing a Bonsai. 

Soil mixtures can be purchased here, but given their weight and cost of shipping, you can also easily make your own. 

 

Depending on the type of Bonsai you're growing, here are the general formulas for successful mixtures. 

Deciduous Tree (Leafy and looses leafs in the fall)

50% Akadama

20% Pumice

20% Lava Rock

10% Potting Compost

 

Coniferous Tree (Evergreen like Juniper, Cedar)

1/3 Akadama

1/3 Pumice

1/3 Lava Rock

 

If you are not able to check on your Bonsai's moisture levels daily, add more Akadama to the mix. 

Given how these soils erode over time, repotting every 2-3 years is required. 

 

Here are some suitable replacements if you cannot find the recommended types of soil.

  • Akadama - fine fired or baked clays, some even recommend cat litter as a substitute. 
  • Pumice - fine crushed aggregates, expanded shale and vermiculite.
  • Lava Rock - This can be replaced with fine gravel or you can also look into purchasing a larger lava rock at a hardware or gardening centre and crushing it. 

 

Fertilizer

One of the best and easiest ways to fertilize your Bonsai, is to add a liquid fertilizer mix when water your Bonsai's once a month during the spring/summer. If your Bonsai looses leaves in the winter there is no need to fertilize it then. If you have a coniferous tree, fertilizing the tree once in the beginning of winter and once in the middle of winter should be sufficient.

  

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