beech hedge

Beech Hedge Dying? (Here’s Why & How To Fix It!)

Beech plants are native to the United Kingdom. They are popular hedging plants that may be called semi-evergreen.

Beech hedges have bright, fluttery foliage that turns into coppery orange/brown foliage in the autumn. It slowly fades away its color going into summer.

If you know your hedges, beech hedges are easy to grow. Sometimes people do run into some issues with them.

Why is my new Beech Hedge dying?

You planted a new Beech hedge hoping for beautiful foliage in the autumn. Suddenly it is showing signs of illness/dying. What did you do to the hedge?

Frost Damage

New Beech hedges can be attacked by frost damage as they are yet to establish well in the soil. This occurs after the leaves just emerged.

Frost damages the new, tender growth of Beech foliage. Affected leaves become brown and shrivel quickly.

The plant produces new foliage after a couple of weeks and it recovers soon. You just need to wait and not panic.

Heat Stress

Newly planted Beech plants suffer from heat stress and drought easily. This is due to the fact that their roots aren’t still established.

You need to continue watering them adequately. Just make sure you’re not overwatering them as this can cause Root rot.

Why is my Beech tree turning brown?

Beech tree foliage may turn brown in many cases. It turns brown due to frost damage as we discussed earlier.

Leaf scorch

Even matured Beech trees may experience this condition. This is seen in full-sun and windy places.

I’ve seen leaf scorch in many Beech trees that grow in a sunny climate. This is especially true in the case of newly planted Beech hedges.

Herbicidal damage

Is the browning on one side? Is it on the side where the plant gets the most wind? Have you recently sprayed a herbicide on a neighboring plant?

Herbicide may have gotten on your Beech tree while you were spraying the other tree. This causes the scorched appearance of leaves.


  • Curling or cupped leaves and stems.
  • Stunted growth.
  • Leaves with brown spots.

There’s nothing you could do to fix herbicidal damage to leaves. If the herbicide is heavy in the soil, you can flush it with excess water.

Beech Hedge leaves turning yellow

Are your Beech hedge leaves turning yellow and wilted? This is probably due to a disease called Beech Leaf Disease.

Beech Leaf Disease

This disease is caused by a nematode. It can kill young trees in a couple of years if not a year.


  • Striping, curling of the leaves. Leaves become leathery.
  • In early infestations, only a few leaves may be infected. After a while, the insects wither and yellow.
  • Reduced leaf and bud production may occur.
  • Leaf loss may be seen in the summer months. A single tree may have both affected and non-affected leaves.

The hedge may be hungry

Beech hedge needs a lot of nutrients in the growing season. It needs to produce a lot of foliage and needs to establish well.

You should make sure the soil has sufficient nutrients. You may add some liquid/granule feed with high nitrogen or some poultry manure pellets.

What is eating my Beech Hedge?

Do you have a feeling that your Beech is being eaten by some pest? It can be one of many things. Let’s see which particular pest you got and how to fix it!

Beech Hedge Aphids

Beech plants can often be seen affected by aphids called Beech Woolly Aphids. This specifically affects Beech trees.

These look like cotton wool and can be found on the lower side of the affected plant. Under this protective layer there lie yellow-colored pesky aphids.

They suck up plant sap. They secrete honeydew and pave way for a fungal infection called Sooty mold. This grows on the damaged parts.

When do Beech Hedge Aphids appear?

Beech Hedge Aphids are active from late April/Early May until midsummer. They lay eggs in this time period which stay dormant till the spring.

To Treat Beech Hedge Aphids

If the plants affected are well established, the aphids can’t do much damage. There’s no way to control these pests in a well-established plant as you can’t spray the whole plant properly.

If the plants are newly planted then look for signs of the infection. If caught early they can be eliminated using an insecticide.

Is your beech hedge losing leaves?

Do you see a loss of foliage in Beech? Leaves are lost during autumn and winter, this is completely natural. Foliage will grow back in the spring.

If the Beech is grown as a hedge then you won’t see a loss of foliage even in the winter.

Incorrect Trimming

Trimming is vital for any hedge to thrive well. This needs to be done at the right time to achieve the best visible results.

You should resort to trimming the plant only if it’s well established (2 years old).

How to:

  • You should trim the Beech hedge this way: / \, but a bit steeper. This is to ensure that even the lower branches get sunlight.
  • If the hedge faces south, you can cut it this way: | \, where the straight side faces the south.
  • You need to cut your hedge twice a year. Once in early June and the second time in early August/late August.

Frequently Asked Questions

People send me many queries in the mail. They are curious about many things related to the Beech tree. I’ll try to answer them here.

When should I fertilize my beech hedge?

Fertilize your Beech plants only during the growth phase. You can fertilize Beech hedges in the spring. Start in July and fertilize the plants at regular intervals.

Can I cut the Beech hedge in April?

Beech hedges are normally trimmed down in August. They will recover after a while and be ready for the winter. They can be cut back in April if you really need to maintain their size.

How long do Beech hedges live?

Beech hedges are easy to plant and to care for. Once planted they can last for hundreds of years. So, take good care of them, they’ll become a part of your family heritage.