Hornbeam Hedging

Hornbeam Hedge Plants

Left to its own devices, Hornbeam grows into is a medium-sized deciduous tree. However, on heavy and badly drained soils Hornbeam is the go-to plant for those who would like a green Beech hedge and cannot have one. As a hedge, it is remarkably similar to beech which hates wet soils but if you don't fancy hornbeam hedging - which we sell in a range of sizes - then take a look at the rest of our range of hedge plants for sale.

Hornbeam in Summary

  • Uses: Formal and stock-friendly hedges from 100 cms upwards
  • Good Points: Native, holds leaves in winter, clips beautifully
  • Position: Heavy and poorly drained soils. Tolerates shade
  • Growth: 30+ cms p.a.

Advice on Buying a Hornbeam Hedge

Hornbeam in SpringHornbeam (Carpinus betulus) looks almost identical to Beech although the two are not related. Hornbeam is much better suited to the damp, shady and/or badly drained sites on heavy soil that Beech dislikes. Importantly, just like Beech, a Hornbeam hedge will hold onto its dead autumn leaves throughout the winter meaning it provides a good screen in winter even though it is deciduous.

We always recommend using bareroot Hornbeam plants - they are cheaper, stronger, easier to handle and because they are planted in winter in heavy ground, they need less watering in spring than beech.

Which Size is Best?
Choose plant size to suit your budget and timescales:

  • If you are on a tight budget or if time is not really an issue, using small Carpinus is best - you will get a great hedge with very little fuss. It will just take a few years to get there.
  • If you need a screen as soon as possible, use the larger sizes - from 80cms upwards. Just be sure to trim them as they establish to get a really bushy hedge. Take a look at our discounted packs below - they will save you money.

When can you plant Hornbeam?
Hornbeam is available bareroot for winter planting between October and March.

How to Plant a Hornbeam Hedge:
For sizes up to 60/80 cms watch our film on how to plant a country hedge as these plants are small enough to be slit planted. From 80/100 cms upwards, our hedging Hornbeam is too well developed for this technique, so watch our film on how to plant a formal hedge instead.

Spacing: 3 plants per metre, 33cms apart, in a single row is fine for most hedges. You can plant a staggered double row at 20-25 cms apart if you want it to be stockproof.

Position: Remember that Hornbeam hedge plants like heavy soil. They do not do well on thinner, chalky soils. They are also quite shade tolerant.


When do you Clip and Prune Hornbeam?
Once your Hornbeam hedge is planted (on the same day if fine) give them a very light trim by snipping off the top bud from the end of each stem - this will encourage them to become bushier.

When the hedge is established you can help it hang onto its autumn foliage during winter by giving it a trim in late spring and again in early August. If necessary, carry out heavier pruning and remedial work in winter. You can be drastic as all members of the Carpinus family regrow from old wood when cut back hard.

Looking for a big Hornbeam tree instead of a hedge?
We have Large Hornbeam Standards for sale - these are the same tree as the hedging plants, just delivered at a larger size and grown with a nice straight trunk and you can also buy Fastigiate Hornbeam, which is a compact, upright ornamental variety.

Hornbeam Hedging for Sale

You can buy hornbeam hedging here singly or in discounted packs of 50 - larger sizes only - which will give you a hedge of about 17 metres. Order from both to get the exact number you need if your planned hedge is not a multiple of 17 metres.

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    • Sizes sold: 40-175 cm
    • Hedges: 1m to very tall
    • Soil: all soils
    • Use: Formal/Native
    • Single Row: 3/m
    • Colour: green/brown
    • Feature: tolerant of damp, heavy soil and shade
    From £0.45

  1. Carpinus betulus - Packs of 50 Plants
    • 80 - 150cms Saplings
    • Native. Tolerant of shade & damp soil
    • Ideal formal hedging, similar to beech
    • Other Sizes: Big trees & smaller saplings
    • Max. Height: 20m
    • Bareroot Delivery: Nov-Mar
    From £74.17

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