Young American beeches are scattered throughout the site I introduced in A Forest Study: North Trailhead. They are easy to spot through most of the winter because they maintain the previous year’s leaves.
These dense thickets, commonly referred to as beech brush, are primarily root sprouts. The American beech naturally root sprouts, but does so even more aggressively when the trees are afflicted with beech bark disease. It seems that part of the individual tree’s defense mechanism includes creating more survival options by generating new individual sprouts.