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Vibrant Hornbeam Leaves in Spring

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Carpinus betulus

Hornbeam is a deciduous broadleaf native tree to the south of the UK. It is an elegantly shaped tree with serrate, ribbed leaves and characteristic grey, fluted bark. Its branching habit gives it an attractive silhouette in winter.
Friendly for Birds

Availability: In stock

From: £1.66

Hornbeam is available for purchase in increments of 25


Root Type Supplied Size Density Availability Unit Price Qty
Bare Root 40-60cm 5-7 / m In Stock
From £1.66
Bare Root 60-80cm 5-7 / m In Stock
From £2.46
Bare Root 80-100cm 3-5 / m In Stock
From £4.34
Bare Root 100-120cm 3-5 / m In Stock
From £4.80
Bare Root 120-150cm 3-5 / m In Stock
From £7.20

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From: £1.66

The Common Hornbeam is part of the Betulaceae family. It is a small to medium sized tree, reaching heights of 15-25 m, rarely 30 m and often has a fluted crooked trunk. It is a shade-loving tree, with a shallow widespread root system. It stands up well to cutting back and has a dense foliage. This is colourful in autumn as leaves turn yellow then russet brown.

Planting Position
Prefers shade and moderate soil fertility and moisture. Tolerant of heavy clay soils.

Growth Rate: Medium
Final Height: 25-30 m
Final Spread: 4-8 m

Foliage & Flowers
The bark is smooth and greenish grey, even in old trees. The buds, unlike those of the beech, are 10mm long at the most and pressed close to the twig. The leaves are alternate, 4-9cm long, with prominent veins giving a distinctive corrugated texture and a serrated margin turning yellow in autumn. It is monoecious and the wind pollinated male and female catkins appear in early summer after the leaves. The fruit is a small 7-8mm long nut, partially surrounded by a 3-pointed leafy involucre 3-4cm long; it matures in the autumn. The seeds often do not germinate till the spring of the second year after sowing. The Hornbeam is a prolific seeder and is marked by vigorous natural regeneration.

Plant Interest
As Hornbeam grown as hedging keeps some of its leaves well into the winter, it is provides a long season of shelter and foraging opportunities for small birds and mammals. It also provides food for various species of caterpillars and birds.

Landscape Use
It is naturally found in Oak Woodland. It is often pollarded or coppiced. Can be used in flower borders or architectural gardens and in mixed hedging.

Uses timber/logs/windbreak/etc
Hornbeam is an extremely hard and strong wood, it was traditionally used for the making of Ox-yokes. Widely used now for furniture and flooring. Also makes good firewood and charcoal.

Planting may be carried out at any time between early-November and mid-May.

Planting Willow and Poplar Setts / Cuttings

The cuttings are quick and easy to plant. They are provided with a slanted cut at the base and a straight cut at the top to make insertion into the ground easier and distinguish top from bottom. They can simply be pushed into loose cultivated soil and firmed in. They will need no support. In firmer soils simply make a vertical slit with a spade and push the cutting to the bottom of the slit and firm well by treading. Alternatively a narrow hole may be made with a bar or spike and the cutting pushed to the bottom and firmed well. For larger-scale planting schemes, a mole-plough or subsoil blade may be pulled through the ground in rows and the cuttings simply pushed into the loosened soil slit and firmed in by foot.

In order to get strong root development, you must ensure there is sufficient length below the soil level. The smallest cuttings (30cm / 1ft) must be planted so that only 5cm (2") is showing above ground. This makes them vulnerable to being smothered by weeds and grass before they get away, and so they are only suited to situations where they will receive a high standard of care in the early days. The two foot long cuttings (60 cm) are planted so that half is in the soil. Being larger they contain greater reserves of energy and grow away faster. In most situations the 60cm (2ft) cuttings are the best option and will produce a tree, if looked after, of 180-240cm (6 - 8ft) high in the first growing season.

All the cuttings are vulnerable to surrounding competition and often the reason for failure is down to the freshly planted cuttings having to compete with existing vegetation in the early stages, whilst they are trying to grow new roots. It is always best to clear the area of any existing vegetation where possible and keep control of this during the first 18 months in order to give the plants the best chance of success.


Planting Bare Root Whips and Hedging

Bare root plants can planted by notch or pit planting methods. For more information, please download this helpsheet.

Planting bare root whips and hedging help sheet


The decision on whether to plant rooted trees and/or which size of cuttings will depend on:

      - How easy a job you want planting to be

      - How well you will look after your trees 

      - Your soil type and site

      - How quickly you need results


All sizes of cutting root equally well.

The smallest one foot long (30 cm) cuttings must be planted so that only 2 inches (5 cm) is showing above ground. This makes them vulnerable to being smothered by weeds and grass before they get away, and so they are only suited to situations where they will receive a high standard of care in the early days. The two foot long cuttings (60 cm) are planted so that half is in the soil. This means that the new growth starts above weed and grass height. Being larger they also contain greater reserves of energy and grow away faster. 

In most situations the 2 foot long (60 cm) cuttings are the best option and will produce a tree, if looked after, of 6 - 8ft high in the first growing season.

On dry sites such as sands and gravels, or on banks, we would suggest that you plant a longer cutting and insert a larger proportion into the soil. Both the hybrid willows and poplars have the ability to make roots from any part of the stem and so, if planted deeply, will produce deep roots, which will always find moisture. 

The rooted trees and longer cuttings will cope better with difficult conditions and weed or grass competition to give instantly visible results.

Further information on rooted or unrooted plants can be found here.


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Our bare root plants and cuttings are delivered between November and May (specific dates cannot be guaranteed) but we do encourage early planting for the best results.


Most orders are dispatched within 3-5 working days where stocks are available. If they are not available at the time of order you will be notified and an alternative delivery date discussed with you. 

Our e-Gift Vouchers will be sent out within 24 hours of order.

We ship to mainland UK and the Isle of Wight (although surcharges may be incurred in some more remote areas – see below). Our orders are generally sent out using a national courier but for local deliveries, we may use our own couriers. Orders can also be collected from the nursery by prior appointment and we are more than happy for you to do this if you prefer. 

Our standard delivery charge is £15 plus VAT. This is for a next day delivery service in areas where this is available (i.e. mainland UK). For some of our products, such as seeds and planting accessories, the delivery charge is £4.95 + VAT. Our e-Gift Vouchers do not incur a delivery charge (please select 'Free Shipping' at the Checkout). For further information about Delivery, please click here.

There's usually no need to wait in for a delivery, our couriers will leave it in a safe place for you. If there is somewhere in particular you would like it left, please let us know at the time of ordering.


It is important to look after your trees as they mature so now click on After-Planting Care for some useful guide-lines.