Beech is one of the favorite essences for bonsai creation. Those who prefer indigenous essences drop their choice on Fagus sylvatica, the common beech, very common in the woods of our continent. It is not a simple essence, but with a little application it can give great satisfaction. It is not difficult to find small specimens on the market, both of the species and of some cultivars with red leaf or with decumbent bearing. Furthermore, if permitted by the authorities, it is possible to take small specimens already with some special predispositions (for example a large trunk). As a last alternative, it is possible to grow a sapling directly from seed, harvesting the beechnuts in autumn.
Aesthetic characteristics and varieties
The beech is appreciated for its beautiful structure, very harmonious and light, but at the same time resistant. A great attraction are the leaves: green during the course of the year to turn to red and golden yellow in autumn. They almost always remain on the tree throughout the winter period to fall only when the buds push again.
Obviously you can also opt for the cultivars of the atropurpurea group. The most common ones vary only for the coloring of the foliage (purple and then copper), but there are also some with particular bearing (columnar, decombent).
The Fagus crenata (with smaller leaves and also with very intense colors) are also very popular.
Usually with beech trees there is a tendency to create thickets (Yose-Ue style), obtaining the natural shape with pruning. It is not uncommon, however, that some particularly beautiful specimens are used solo. In this case, the chokkan (erect formal) and hokidachi (inverted broom, with rounded crown) styles are followed. There are also cases of windy style, although it requires a lot of experience and patience.