Beechwoods – Spring Leaves

The trees in the Beechwoods are coming into leaf, but in a strangely erratic way.  Many are almost devoid of leaves and retain their winter tracery of bare branches.  At the other extreme a few have dense crowns of green murmuring in the wind.  In between some are sparsely leaved towards the top, but have plenty of fresh greenery on the lower branches.  Young beeches in the emerging under storey have a good spring genesis of leaves*.  What’s the cause of this variation? Different varieties?  Temperature gradient? Soil and water conditions?

*’First leaves unfolded are on shaded, slender shoots deep in beechwoods; these are green in April, 2-3 weeks before the upper crowns show any green.’ Field Guide to Trees

Photo: Beechwoods spring leaves, April 2017

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