Hornbeam trees, Carpinus betulus, are fairly large, native, deciduous plants. They will thrive in most conditions, including damp, shady and chalky places. Parkland hornbeam trees have dense, rounded canopies that cast full shade underneath them.
Hornbeam can reach a height of about 20-25 metres. You can also buy a more upright variety - Fastigiate Hornbeam, which is more compact than the common hornbeam on this page. Standard trees are the largest size that we deliver; you can also buy younger Hornbeam saplings here. Browse our variety of large garden trees or view our full range of trees for sale.
How Standard Trees are Measured:
All the plants in the ornamental trees section are graded as standards, which means that they are measured by their girth in centimetres 1 metre above ground level (basically, their trunk's waist measurement). They aren't measured by their height, which will vary. So, a 6/8 standard has a trunk with a circumference of 6-8 centimetres and an 8/10 standard has a trunk 8-10 centimetres around.
This measurement makes no difference to the tree's final height. Most standards are between 2 - 3.5 metres tall, but this is just an average. We cannot tell you how tall your trees will be before we deliver them.
The green leaves look similar to those of beech, except for the more deeply crinkled veins and the jagged edges. The autumn colour is russet-gold. Hornbeam seeds have 3-lobed wings and are eaten mainly by small mammals.
Hornbeam makes a beautiful parkland specimen, with a rounded, spreading canopy that casts deep shade underneath it. It is suitable for pleaching on wires into a flat screen or for pollarding.
Hornbeam wood is extremely strong and in the past it was prized for weight bearing beams in the walls and roofs of houses. It is excellent firewood, producing almost as much heat for a given volume of fuel as coal.
Hornbeam isn't very good at propagating itself in Britain and Northern Europe. Its seeds can take 3 years to germinate, during which time they are mostly eaten. If a seed does get to sprout, the sapling is unlikely to survive its first year. Hornbeam's true native range in Britain is limited to the South East of England; it is common elsewhere because humans have planted it for coppicing since ancient times.