European Hornbeam Hedge

Carpinus betulus

> European Hornbeam Hedge
European Hornbeam Hedge2020-08-04T17:53:02+00:00
The densely branched European Hornbeam is columnar when young and grows into its stately namesake shape as it ages, up to 80 feet tall where it is native in Europe and Central Asia. Carpinus betulus has a distinctive fluted gray bark and sharply-toothed dark green foliage that turns yellow-orange in autumn. Planted in groups, it works perfectly as a screen or windbreak and can work equally well as a formal hedge with hard pruning. It’s best pruned during the late summer to mid-winter period, when significant bleeding can be avoided. In Europe, it is a popular tree for pleaching, a kind of large-scale topiary gardening where trees are grown together in a natural form of interwoven grafting. This became a common gardening practice in the medieval era, when the tree was celebrated for its shade-producing qualities. In fact the hornbeam has been in cultivation for such a long time there is no noted date of introduction.

A European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) unit around 4' high, ready to ship in its biodegradable cardboard container.


Neatly-pruned rows of European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) at the nursery.


A European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) unit around 6' high, ready to ship in its biodegradable cardboard container.


Fall display on the European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) is a stunning mix of colors.


European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) offers substantial screening even in the winter because the previous year's foliage remains on the branches through much of the winter.

Quick Guide

European hornbeam hedge

    Carpinus BETULUS Details

    Carpinus betulus was introduced to North America sometime during the colonial era. The common ‘hornbeam’ name is due to the tree’s extremely hard wood, which will take on a horn-like smooth polish, and was once widely used in Europe to make oxen yokes. The hedge works perfect in urban areas. Carpinus betulus is perfect for screening to get instant privacy.

    European Hornbeam looks very similar to European Beech when grown as a hedge, and they can be considered interchangeable. You can learn more about the differences between Hornbeam and Beech here.

    Deer Resistance:YES
    Your Hardiness Zone:

    Sunset Heat Zones:2 - 9 and 14 - 17
    USDA Hardiness Zones:4 - 8
    Watering Requirements:Weekly, or possibly more often in containers or extreme heat
    Growth Rate:Moderate
    Mature Size:Up to 12’ height and 4’ width
    Sun/Shade:Full Sun to Full Shade
    Drought Tolerance:Yes
    Pest/Disease Issues:
    No serious insect or disease problems. Resistant to verticillium. Susceptible to scales and root rot.

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    European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) offers substantial screening even in the winter because the previous year's foliage remains on the branches through much of the winter.


    Hornbeam hedges can be used to effectively add privacy and separation to different areas of a landscape.


    Hornbeam (Carpinus) hedges can be used to form a private courtyard outside this apartment complex.


    Mature hedges can form very effective outdoor walls like those nearly 8 feet tall pictured here!


    Stone and metal features like this fountain are made more inviting with the use of a leafy hedge.


    Hornbeam hedges can be pruned creatively to form designs like windows and doors.


    Various parts of the garden can be clearly defined with a tall leafy hedge of beech (Fagus) or hornbeam (Carpinus) like shown here.


    Hornbeam hedge form a wonderful backdrop behind colorful flowers and other plants.


    Hornbeam privacy hedges help create peaceful garden spaces to rest and think.


    Use a hornbeam hedge to highlight flowers, herbs, and garden sculptures.


    European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) forms an effective barrier between a busy street and a private garden.


    Country charm isn't hard to come by when using hedges to dress up a parking area or courtyard.


    This outdoor room looks stunning with a leafy backdrop like a hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) hedge as is featured here.


    A simple garden design looks elegant and creative with a tall hedge bordering mass plantings.


    Give a courtyard peace and summer privacy by surrounding it with hornbeam hedge.