Hornbeam hedges - (carpinus betulus)

Hornbeam are a versatile small growing native hardwood tree used as a hedge plant as well as for topiary. Classed as deciduous as it does loose its foliage however it manages to hold on to its brown leaves through until spring when the catkins appear. Cloud pruned hornbeams are a spectacular specimen plant when planted in small groups.

One of the advantages is that this tree will cope well with wet clay soils. If left to its' own devices the hornbeam will reach 40 - 80 ft however in cultivation they are usually much smaller and do make great hedges.

Hornbeam hedges - Care and planting

Hornbeam is a hardy plant that will tolerate poor soils and exposed windy positions which makes it a little tougher than Beech which can be used for similar applications. Well suited to pleaching and excellent when pruned for a more formal hedge.

Plants will reach around 6m in height and will grow at 20 - 40 cm a year depending on conditions.

Bare rooted plants are available in winter and will require extra water during the first summer if a dry period occurs. Water in well when planting with a liquid seaweed fertilizer.

Hornbeam hedges - Planting Distance

If you are looking for quick and dense, allow for 3 plants per metre (33 cm apart) if you are planting the smaller bare rooted type. If you are a little more patient then plant 60cm apart. It does depend a little on the soil and the density of the hedge you wish to achieve. For informal hedges plant at 1m centres, closer for a denser formal hedge.

If you are looking at a wide hedge, then stagger plants in two rows. (see diagram below)

planting a staggered hedge


The botanical name is carpinus betulus and they are related to the Birches. Hornbeam is a deciduous tree that will grow to that can easily be clipped to form a hedge. Hornbeam are often cloud pruned, pleached, coppiced or pollarded.

So when we say deciduous, yes they keep some foliage through the winter and it turns a nice pale brown color, however it does loose a good part of the foliage.

More Hedging Plants for the UK including a wide range of hedging styles suitable for hedges in almost any situation, hedging plants include low and tall growing plants, hedging plants for shade and sun as well as flowering, fast growing and slow growing hedges.

Hornbeam (carpinus betulus) hedges and trees for sale online

HEDGES DIRECT Ltd - Phone 01257 263873
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The Estate Office, Smallhythe Road Tenterden, Kent TN30 7LT
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Bury Mill Farm, Bury, Pulborough, West Sussex RH20 1NN - Tel: 01798 831008 email: jss@millfarmtrees.co.uk

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