The American beech tree (Fagus grandifolia) grows throughout the eastern and southern United States. The tree can attain a height of up to 100 feet with a width of 70 feet. A hardwood, the tree is widely used in the manufacture of paper, furniture, cabinets and as a valuable firewood.
Beech tree firewood burns hot with very little sparking which can help reduce the risk of a possible flue fire. The wood also splits well when seasoned but may require a maul or wedge because, even seasoned, the wood is hard. Seasoned beech firewood produces very little smoke.
The beech bark disease, caused by the beech bark scale insect (Cryptococcus fagisuga Lindinger), first occurred in Maine in the 1930s. The disease has spread and now occurs as far south as North Carolina and as far west as Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website. The only way to control the disease successfully is to reduce its spread.
To help reduce the risk of spreading the beech bark insects, never transport beech firewood more than 25 miles from the location where it was cut. Beech bark firewood should never be transported during the summer and fall when the insects are in their crawler life stage and can easily be blown from the wood to infest healthy beech trees. Beech wood with no bark is considered non-infectious.
- Photo Credit Autumn beech image by pioregur from Fotolia.com
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