One of the most shade tolerant trees we grow, Fagus grandifolia is part of the climax beech-maple forests in Indiana. Native beech trees are within a few miles of the west side of Lake Michigan all the way to Door County, Wisconsin. Spectacular smooth ... gray bark, though people tend to carve their names on it! Outstanding golden-yellow fall color. I have tried growing this tree in the field, and it has done very poorly. I moved three of them into a staghorn sumac thicket, and they grew 2 feet in one year! We now grow them in #5 containers under shade.