In southern Michigan, American beech trees grow in beech-maple forests. Going north, they can be found in hemlock-northern hardwood forests. Michigan is the western edge of its range and it can be found in almost every county except for the western side of the Upper Peninsula.
American beech is recognizable by its smooth grayish thin bark and often seen with writing on it. This can kill the tree because it stops nutrients and water from traveling through the trunk (girdling), so it is best to refrain from writing on this tree or any tree. Its leaves are oval, toothed at the edge, and come to a tip. Its leaves turn yellow and start to fall off making it a deciduous tree. Other ways to identify this tree when the leaves fall off are by its long pointed winter buds.
Department of Natural Resources