How to Plant Hornbeam

Written by d.c. winston
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How to Plant Hornbeam
A European Hornbeam (Blahedo, June 20, 2006)

Hornbeams are small hardwood trees in the plant genus Carpinus and also commonly known as blue-beech, ironwood, or musclewood due to the hardness of its timber and stockiness of its trunk and branching. There are up to 40 identified species of Hornbeam that grow in Northern temperate regions in China, Eastern Asia, Europe, Eastern North America and Mexico and Central America. Hornbeam thrives in the moist rich soil in the understory of larger hardwood forests and can grow up to 30 feet in height with up to a 20-foot spread, so choose a planting location capable of supporting and accommodating the tree over time. Hornbeam can be planted singly as specimen trees or en masse for screening, windbreaks and architectural structures in the landscape.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Hornbeam tree/s
  • Rich well drained soil
  • Shovel
  • Organic fertiliser such as aged manure or worm casings
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Dig up a hole with your shovel at least twice the diameter of the Hornbeam's rootball and a few feet deeper than the depth of the container it is in. Loosen up the soil in the bottom of the hole without removing any more. Add a few feet of the loose soil back into the bottom of the hole and add some organic fertiliser such as age manure or worm casings.

  2. 2

    Carefully tilt the Hornbeam on its side and slide it out of the container. Loosen up the edges of the root ball so that they are not encircling the plant. This will encourage outward facing root penetration.

  3. 3

    Place the Hornbeam into the hole gently, adding soil as needed under the rootball so that the top soil of the rootball is level with the surrounding soil. Carefully turn the tree in its hole to determine which facing view of the tree you prefer.

  4. 4

    Back fill soil around the rootball filling the hole evenly with soil. Use your foot to tamp down the soil around the rootball adding soil as needed if air pockets collapse.

  5. 5

    Use your shovel to dig a shallow circular well at least foot out from the trunk at the drip line.

  6. 6

    Pour water gently into the well and allow to soak in completely. If the water drains into the soil very quickly, refill the well with water. Monitor the newly planted tree carefully, ensuring that the soil is moist but not wet at least an inch down at all times.

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