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Hornbeam - Carpinus betulus

Hornbeam - Carpinus betulus

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 Acidic, Sandy, Peaty Acidic, Sandy, Peaty
 Alkaline, Chalky, Calcareous Alkaline, Chalky, Calcareous
 Damp and Clays Damp and Clays
 Light Sand Light Sand
 Neutral Neutral
Autumn Interest Autumn Interest
Growth Rate: Moderate Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: Medium Height: Medium
Native Native
RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM) RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM)
Use: Firewood Use: Firewood
Use: Formal Use: Formal

Characteristics
Plant Protection
Planting & Care
Long Description 5
Images (4)
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RHS Award of Garden Merit

Often confused with beech at first sight, Hornbeam is a good substitute on wet or shady sites where Beech will not do well. It makes a medium-sized specimen tree on heavy clay soil in parklands and gardens where other trees will not thrive, and it is an excellent hedge, retaining its leaves over winter in the same way as Beech. It is also good for coppicing and pollarding, and along with Lime, it is most often used for making pleached hedges.

Site and soil

Hornbeam will do well on most soils including wet clays. It is also tolerant of shade and frost pockets, and because the timber is so strong, it withstands wind well without damage to the branches.

Height and spread

Below are the approximate stages of growth, assuming sited in suitable conditions for this species;

After 10 years: 6m x 4m
After 20 years: 11m x 6m

Leaf and bark

The leaves are ovate and sharply toothed, with prominent veins. They are between 7 – 12 cm long, mid green, turning yellow and orange before leaf fall in autumn. The leaves are retained over winter on hedging. The bark is grey and fluted, often twisted with age.

Flower, seed and fruit

The yellowish female catkins open in clusters in March and are followed by racemes of green winged fruits, which ripen to brown.

Uses

Hornbeam makes an elegant pyramidal, later rounded, specimen tree for parkland, woodland and larger gardens. It coppices well, and in the past older trees were pollarded. It makes a good hedge, retaining its dead leaves over winter, and is also used for making flat pleached hedges where each plant is given a good spacing and the branches are trained out horizontally on each side at regular intervals.

The wood is very hard and is used for butcher’s blocks, mallets, gun stocks, mill cogs and piano hammers.

Wildlife

Insects are attracted to the catkins in spring and several species of moth larvae feed on its leaves. Insects shelter in the crevices of the bark, providing food for birds.

The main reasons for buying protection is to protect the plants against:

  • Pests
  • Spraying
  • Strimming

Pests

When it comes to deciding what protection to choose the golen rule of thumb is to choose the product dependent on which pest you are protecting against. The below will help you in deciding what height of protection you will need.

Vole Rabbit Hare Roe Deer/Muntjac Fallow Deer
Vole, Mice
20cm
Rabbit
60cm
Hare
75cm
Roe Deer/Muntjac
1.20m
Fallow Deer
1.50m

 Download our full protection range as a printable PDF document.

Protection Options

Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Vole
Vole, Mice
20cm
Vole Guard
20cm
None required
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Rabbit
Rabbit
60cm
Spiral Guard
60cm x 38mm, 60cm x 50mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Easywrap
60cm x 50-65mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Mesh Guard with Spray Shield
60cm x 130mm
2 x Bamboo Canes
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Fruitwrap
60cm x 65-80mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Ecostart
60cm x 57-73cm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Tree Shelter
60cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelter
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 144-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelterguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 170-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube for Shrubs
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 170-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Hare
Hare
75cm
Tubex Easywrap
75cm x 50-65mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Spiral Guard
75cm x 50mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Tubex Fruitwrap
75cm x 65-80mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Tubex Ecostart
75cm x 57-73mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Tree Shelter
75cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Combitube
75cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
90cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
75cm x 80-110mm, 90cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelter
75cm x 130-160mm, 75cm x 144-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Roe Deer/Muntjac
Roe Deer/Muntjac
1.20m
Tubex Tree Shelter
1.20m x 73-105mm, 1.20m x 80-120mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Combitube
1.20m x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
1.20m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
1.20m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Galvanised Mesh Tree Guard
1.20m x 300mm
Machine Rounded Tree Stake
1.20m x 50mm, 1.50m x 50mm
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Fallow DeerFallow Deer
1.50m
Tubex Tree Shelter
1.50m x 80-120mm, 1.80m x 80-120mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Combitube
1.50m x 80-120mm, 1.80m x 80-120mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
1.50m x 80-110mm, 1.80m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
1.50m x 80-110mm, 1.80m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Galvanised Mesh Tree Guard
1.80m x 300mm, 1.80m x 600mm
Machine Rounded Tree Stake
1.80m x 60mm

Spraying

Tubex tree shelters offer the benefit of not only protecting against animal damage, they also ensure that herbicides do not come into contact with the plants during spraying.

The main reason for spraying is weed control, however, there are other options available to suppress weeds. Our accessories section includes weed control matting, fertilisers & wildflower seed.

Strimming

Young plants should be protected from damage caused when strimming. To protect plants solely for strimming, our strimmer guards are the ideal product.

Planting

Can be grown into a tree or can be used as part of a mixed species within a native hawthorn hedge.

New hedgerows should be planted in two staggered rows 30cm apart.

We recommend a minimum of 5 plants per metre.

Follow this link to our 'Planting Advice' page for more detailed information on how to plant your plants.

Rootgrow

We would often advise that you consider using 'Rootgrow' for your bare root plants. Rootgrow simply speeds up an existing natural process. The fungi contained in Rootgrow will begin to colonise the plant or tree roots, extending the root system into the surrounding soil via an extensive network of fungal filaments. 

The benefit of Rootgrowis that it enhances a plants root system so a newly planted plant:

  • Finds more food, finds more water.

  • Needs less fertiliser.

  • Establishes quicker and reduces failure rates (which can be improved even further when used in conjunction with Broadleaf P4)

  • Has increased tolerance to drought and difficult soil conditions

We also have a handy Welfare Guide that includes information on how to check your plants on arrival, how to plant them and also how to look after them. This is sent out with each delivery of bare root plants, but it can be downloaded from our advice pages.

Aftercare

Coppicing and pollarding should be carried out in winter. Hedges should be trimmed in summer.

Readily available advice

For additional information on planting and maintaining your plants, please see our advice pages.

We provide extensive articles, tips, and even tutorial videos, ideal for beginners and those with previous planting experience.

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