A traditional native hedge valued for its decorative purple leaves which turn copper in autumn and remain on the hedge throughout the winter months providing year-round interest and privacy screening.
Well-drained chalk soil, sandy soil or loam soil
Full sun to shade
Winter leaf retention, tolerates pruning
Avoid planting in heavy clay or acidic soil
Mildly acidic to alkaline, calcareous soils
Formal and privacy hedges High screen hedges
Dense wide spreading roots sensitive to compaction
Twice during the growing season and always at the end of summer
Suitable for livestock or horse enclosures
Easily recognized by its beautiful purple leaves which appear in April, usually starting out as new, shiny wavy red then maturing to purple. The leaves turn reddish-brown in autumn as the hedge enters its dormant winter phase. During the winter months the dead leaves hold onto the branches and remain on the hedge through to the spring providing all year-round privacy like an evergreen hedge does.
Copper beech make excellent formal garden hedges and privacy screens. It can be planted in full sun or partial shade and its preference is moist, but well-drained soil. However, heavy clays soils or locations subject to prolonged periods of waterlogging are best avoided.
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Copper beech responds exceptionally well to pruning and is a popular horticulturalist’s choice for creating topiary. Pruning of copper beech hedges can be carried out anytime during the growing season and should always include a trim at the end of summer in August or September latest which will help leaf retention during the winter months.