This is a stunning species of tree, the gorgeous white bark of the Japanese White Beech (Fagus crenate) is one of the fabulous facets of this tree. It belongs to the Fagaecea family of Beeches and the most common native Fagus sylvatica can be widely seen throughout the British Isles as a majestic tree in its own right as well as used in bonsai.
The leaf retention in the autumn and throughout winter provides a copper hue which contrasts with the bark and the starkness of winter providing a auburn glow around the tree. The leaves on the white beech are more obovate than the common beech giving it a softer edge to the foliage but they still have the well defined leaf veins that have that characteristic crinkle in autumn as they start to brown up.
Leaf retention during the winter months is important for Beech trees to aid with providing additional protection against cold winds and frosts, so it you are keeping you trees outside all winter try to retain the leaves or provide the trees with additional shelter and even consider wrapping the bark in hessian.
It is important when keeping Japanese White Beech as bonsai to clean off any lichen, moss or algae from the trunk making the most of the shear grey-whiteness of the trunk and to be able to see the finer detail of the lenticels on the stem to ensure your tree is displayed to its advantage.
Another great feature about this species of tree is the fine tracery and branch definition on a well ramified example. Buds are long and narrow and cigar shaped and a deep brown and stand out against the white bark of the branches. The branch work is graceful and forms a stunning large impressive crown like a club shape and they also lend themselves to broom style for bonsai too.
When making wounds, try to keep these to a minimum as they are slow to form callous wood to seal over the wounds and when leaf pruning or defoliating ensure that you place them in the shade following this to avoid sun scorch on the delicate white bark as they are prone to this. The dense canopy aids to reduce the heat of the sun on the trunk and shade the thin bark.
Protect young new shoots and foliage from strong winds as it is delicate until it hardens off and pinch back growing tips in spring. For more information on pruning Japanese White Beech visit the following links:
Japanese white Beech are not that common to see in the UK but you can buy them from various bonsai traders including:-
Here are a few more images to spark your interests in the Japanese White Beech…perhaps a New Year purchase in the making