Hornbeam Tree

All about the Hornbeam Tree

The hornbeam tree is a small hardwood tree that some botanists place in the birch family.  Some people refer to the hornbeam tree as the ironwood tree.  This type of tree does not usually exceed 40 feet in height, although the pleasant shape makes it a welcome addition to any landscape or downtown area.

This type of tree is very ornamental in landscaping, especially because it’s not good for much else.  This is due largely to how difficult it is to work with.  Just try to cut this tree down, and you’ll find out why some people call it the ironwood tree.

You’ll especially love the beautiful flowers from the hornbeam tree in the spring.  There are two types of flowers on this kind of tree.  One type is known as the male flower, and it comes out in early March.  This flower hangs down from the tree like an ornament.  The female flowers of the hornbeam tree come out of the tips of the branches and look like small round growths.

The leaves of this type of tree are similar to those of the beech tree.  They’re very thin and almost see-through.  However, you’ll have to look closely at just a single leaf in order to see this characteristic because often the sheer number of leaves on the tree.  Usually the leaves grow so thick that the tree looks very dense.  The leaves are thin and firm, with a darker green on top than the green that’s on the bottom.  The leaves turn a rust or orange color in the fall.

There are several different varieties of the hornbeam tree.  The American hornbeam is fairly common in the United States.  The bark of this variety is bluish-gray, so you can easily tell this type of tree from other trees that are a similar size and shape.  You’ll also find a European hornbeam, oriental hornbeam, and Japanese hornbeam, all of which are slightly different from each other, although they share many common characteristics.  The main difference among the different varieties of hornbeam trees is the height.  The European variety will grow to be about twice the height of the oriental variety.

If you decide to plant hornbeam trees in your yard, you’ll need moist soil that’s full of nutrients.  This type of tree grows very well near streams and makes a good hedge when you first plant it.  Just remember that the tree will give taller though, and it can become less of a hedge and more of a tree if you allow the branches free reign. 

The best way to start growing this type of tree in your yard is to buy one in sapling form.  Larger trees are not only difficult to transplant because of their large size, but they also don’t transplant very well.  You may even choose to plant this tree in a pot on your patio, as a great many other people often do.  It will provide a nice amount of shade if you have an open area out back.



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