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American Hornbeam

Posted by hairmetal4ever Z7 MD (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 16, 13 at 12:52

I've never been a big fan of the overplanted European Hornbeam. However, I've always liked the American Hornbeam.

I saw someone mention Native Flame� American Hornbeam that J.F. Schmidt offers & it's intriguing to me.

1. Has anyone tried one?
2. Forestfarm has them - can anyone in my area tell me who else might carry them locally?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: American Hornbeam

I have four that I planted about 15 years ago in a line along our driveway. They were #15s, did fine. I then moved two of them (rather someone else did) using a tree spade, as we re-routed the driveway, and they continued to do fine. They are full-sized trees now, over 25' tall, and I've pruned three up and left one alone, with branches almost to the ground. I like them alot but they are a bit ungainly. We're a rural property so I never considered the European version as it looks too buttoned up for here. Be aware that they are strongly marcessent - they hold their dead leaves all winter here and only drop them when they push new growth in the spring. That bothers some people but again, is ok in this setting.

Just bought a small Acer carpinifolia, and it does, in fact, have leaves that look like hornbeam!

Sara


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RE: American Hornbeam

I have 3 planted about 10 years ago. One of them never colors up, the leaves turn brown and that's it. One though, is like a color palette from an LSD user. All are nice trees. I think mine were from Forest Farm.

Marcessent. Wonderful word. Thanks for that. I think that is a desirable trait because it acts as a screen longer than most deciduous trees. Again, that is variable because one tree sheds the leaves with the slightest breeze, the other 2 hold them through most of the winter. I find that the winds we get strip them by Jan-Feb, with few leaves after that.

So far as local sources, few nurseries handle Carpinus, and when they do, it will probably be the fastigate clones of C. betulus. If you want consistent color, I would recommend buying one with a proven record. If you just want to grow the species, then a cheaper way to go is buying seedlings. I'm growing seed I gathered from a friend's hunting camp in Cen. PA (Lycoming Cty.), it will be interesting to see the colors from them.


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RE: American Hornbeam

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 18, 13 at 11:51

I don't like any deciduous tree that has no Fall color and holds it's leaves beyond Fall. Who wants a tree that looks dead all winter and then gives you a rake job in the Spring right when the bulbs are coming up? I'll pass on this one and I'm in a rural area.
Mike


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RE: American Hornbeam

Hey Mike, the beauty with C. caroliniana is that you never have to rake the leaves. They are small and fall off a little at a time and are incorporated in the growing grass.

I can tell your experience with trees that hold the leaves past the traditional raking time (Magnolia grandiflora falls into this category) is limited. The fact is, with all those species you never rake the leaves.

Since you are in the Great NW (love that area), you don't have a lot of trees that hold the leaves and so are not used to looking at them. Here in the East, there are quite a few trees with leaves in the winter, so the effect is not looking at dead trees, only trees that are in winter attire. White Oak, one of the worlds most useful trees, holds its leaves, as do many of the white oak clan (Swamp White Oak, Chinkapin Oak, Water Oak, etc).

The same story with American Beech, one of the truly great trees native to the U.S. An old Beech tree rivals anything else in the forest. The bark, the refined branches and of course the nut, all are qualities that go deeper than pretty flowers or a few weeks of fall color. The fact that it holds no value in some people's eyes doesn't erase all the other desirable qualities it has.

I always encourage people to plant what is native to their area, so feel free to pass on the Eastern trees. If you are looking for something with color and flowers and fast growing, the big box nurseries will cater to you just fine.


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RE: American Hornbeam

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 18, 13 at 15:09

Hey Dzitmoidonc, I was with you until that last sentence. Uncalled for.
Mike


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RE: American Hornbeam

Its aight Mike. We know there are not a lot (any?) of "big box trees" in Mike's Paradise Botanical Haven. Why don't you throw a few of your fall eye candy pics up and show us the value of fall color ;-)


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RE: American Hornbeam

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 18, 13 at 17:13

Just a baby from last year. The leaves on mine fall off in November. As mentioned prior the fall color and ability to hold leaves in winter is quite variable.

 photo Musclewood.jpg


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RE: American Hornbeam

Eur. Hornbeam is certainly not overplanted here in England! What IS overplanted where I live is purple norway maple!


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RE: American Hornbeam

It should be mentioned that a common name for this tree is musclewood, and boy is that accurate. The sinewy trunks resemble rippling muscles when the trees get some age on them. Really attractive. Mike - I understand the issue with no fall display, and if I had limited space I wouldn't fill it with Carpinus, but the combination of the leave texture, shade casting ability and the trunk is compelling if one has enough room.

Sara


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RE: American Hornbeam

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 18, 13 at 21:22

Did you say muscle? This little guy is fairly drought tolerant too, even at a young age.

 photo P1030157.jpg

Musclewood photo P1010627.jpg


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RE: American Hornbeam

Love those biceps, whaas...


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RE: American Hornbeam

Whaas..

Rotary Gardens by chance? ;-)


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RE: American Hornbeam

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 19, 13 at 12:00

Whaas, that 'baby from last year' could definitely go in my garden.
Mike


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RE: American Hornbeam

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 19, 13 at 16:11

Is everyone talking about the cultivar asked about or just Carpinus caroliniana in general?

The main thing about the American species is that it often colors in autumn, unlike C. betulus. It looks like quite a few C. caroliniana have been planted on Seattle streets in recent years but this can't possibly work out as their characteristic low-forking crowns are immediately reaching sideways.

On those rare occasions here when a typical C. betulus has been planted and formed a specimen of some size a fine tree is the result. But one without fall color. And nearly all of the time the stiff, artificial-looking 'Fastigiata' is planted instead.

The main large trees seen hanging onto dead leaves here are eastern red oaks such as Quercus palustris. A broad-leaved evergreen tree such as Magnolia grandiflora dropping a long procession of resilient, leathery leaves, a few at a time during summer is a different phenomenon from a deciduous tree finally shedding a large quantity in spring.

This post was edited by bboy on Mon, Aug 19, 13 at 16:13


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RE: American Hornbeam

My Carpinus caroliniana are strongly marcessent and have never, ever colored in autumn. I was impressed at whaas's photo.


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