This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Mr. Miller has done good service by calling attention to the varieties of the Blood-leaved Beech for hedges. He is undoubtedly correct as to the seedling Blood Beeches reproducing themselves. When in the Hamburg nurseries, some years ago, they had crops from seed every year, and a very large proportion came blood-leaved like the parent tree. By a judicious selection these were in most respects as good as the parent tree, and in some respects better.
The only point I see to add a word to besides what Mr. Miller says, is not that seedling trees are any better than grafted trees in themselves for hedges, but that seedlings may be better than the particular kind that is usually grown by grafting in our nurseries. This is known as the "Rivers' Purple Beech," being from a favorite tree of Mr. Rivers', and from which almost the whole stock in the trade originally came. This tree happens to be a very strong tree in its leading shoots, and has not much tendency to make side branches, and in this way it makes a nice large tree sooner than the usual seedling tree. Again, this tendency to growth in one long shoot gives the tree a sort of weeping character when old, as the branches hang over by the weight of leaves. The leaves are larger than the common English Beech, and they retain the blood-leaved character much longer through the Summer season. These advantages make the Rivers, or common Blood-leaved Beech, much more desirable for an ornamental tree; but, as Mr. Miller observes, the lank growth is just so much against it as a hedge plant, though perhaps this may not be objectionable when pruned in a hedge, which would have a tendency to make it thicken out.
However this is but a theory, for I have never seen a Blood Beech hedge, though I am sure it must be a very pretty object and a desirable thing to have. But what I want to say is that as we cannot always get seed to sow, we can at least graft from these bushy seedling plants. And if there is to be any demand for Blood Beech hedge plants, why not graft a lot from these instead of the lean and lanky Rivers kind?