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Carpinus betulus

Carpinus betulus

Description: Native to UK and Europe the Hornbeam is a medium to large sized tree which is also very useful as a hedging plant.

As a tree it will reach up to 20 metres and is deciduous producing hop like seeds in the autumn. As a formal hedge which is regularly trimmed it can be kept to 1.5 metres and the young annual growth will retain the brown autumn leaves throughout winter.

Climate/Position: Any.

Height/Spread: As above - Up to 20m for trees and can be kept to 1.5m when used as hedging.

Soil Requirements: Any soils, tolerant of some wet conditions.

Pruning: As tree no pruning required.

As hedging best trim end of summer and/or winter.

Special Requirements: When planting as hedging then plant 45cm apart in autumn if bare root plants or at any time if container grown but ensure young plants do not dry out.

Hornbeam woodlands have been used as a sustainable source of wood for hundreds of years. The trees can be coppiced or cut back to ground level and several new shoots result. After 20 years of growth these stems are removed and used as timber, as fencing or made into charcoal. The old roots then produce a new crop of stems.