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Evergreen temperate fruit trees

Evergreen temperate fruit trees


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Evergreen temperate fruit trees that reach maturity more or less at the same time are widely popular for use in yards, parks, streets, and for landscape living at the edge of metropolitan areas in the US and Canada. Three related tree species commonly available for this purpose are American Beech (Fagus grandifolia), Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), and Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana). Seedlings may be produced from seeds, vegetative cuttings, and seedling stock. All three of these species are more or less drought-tolerant once established. Because they tolerate shade, their roots are more likely to reach deeper soils than are fast-growing conifers. Their leafing cycles are somewhat related. Beech generally has leaves that are in early fall, winter, and spring, Hemlock spring, and Oregon White Oak spring, summer, and fall. All three species can survive harsh winters with exposure to leaf fall. By the time the trees reach maturity in five to seven years they will have settled into their most common position in the landscape (and either established roots deep into the soil or fallen to the ground in a slightly disfigured form). Of these trees, there are four subspecies of American Beech (F. grandifolia). They include the well-known and widely planted Pacific Beech (F. grandifolia ssp. grisea). Additional subspecies and local and variant names are:

Description of the Plant

American Beech can be described as a medium-sized deciduous tree that grows 30-50 ft (9-15 m) high, depending upon growth habit and environment. As is usual in the deciduous group, leaves in young trees, saplings, and plants die back after leaf fall, and eventually new leaves, in fall and winter are stunted and grayish (dark-green with weak growth). Only new growth in spring has new leaves that are emerald green. Branch growth is smooth and rounded. Bark is deeply ridged and dark brown to black in old trees. Leaf scars are on the upper surfaces of branches. The tree is strongly branching and can be highly columnar, resembling a Christmas Tree. During winter, individual branches may hang down low and if protected may hang straight down from the trunk in heavy winds. The buds are full and tight, and while not much the same as the buds of deciduous conifers, show the same generality of early leafing, the best place to see buds is on the terminal leader, or leading shoot, of a branch. The buds generally open in early March and remain closed for approximately four months (until October). The average lifespan of the plant from planting is about five to seven years. Even in cold-winter climates, the tree will sometimes live over ten years and achieve a large size. The flowers are produced in small clusters of 1-3 blossoms, typically in May or June. Typically there are 10-40 small, very short-lived, evergreen acorns per pod. The pods that contain acorns are produced in clusters of four-to-seven, pendulous pods, enclosed by the leaves that were last present on the trees the previous year. Pods containing acorns may remain on the trees through summer and into the fall. After early fall rains, the upper part of the tree may fall, but the roots will not be pulled out of the ground. In hard winters, the trees may remain standing in winter with their tops sheared off (as occurs with most conifers). Trees that have fallen into ice or snow can be dug out by shoveling, and although the branches will be sheared off, the tree will have its roots firmly in the ground. Many of the larger, upright trees will have several



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