Hornbeam trees should be spaced 6 meters apart when being collectively grown. They do best in sunlit areas and require nutrient-rich soil to flourish.

For young hornbeams, regular watering is essential; however, as they age their need for frequent watering decreases. This article will explain the key factors in successfully growing and tending a hornbeam tree.

Plant trees every six meters to create a grove

When creating a grove, it is advised to space out the hornbeam trees approximately 6-7 meters apart. Planting small trees in rows is not recommended due to their potential for needing frequent trimming while still developing.

Already established rows of hornbeams need regular pruning and maintenance, usually carried out during late winter when the sap is unlikely to run down the trunks. planting hornbeam trees requires twice-weekly irrigation during warm weather for optimal growth.

It is advisable to regularly check the ties and make any necessary adjustments. Hornbeams belong to the birch family and are resilient, pliant trees that can be used in various types of gardens. Other species suitable for the technique of ‘Definition of checking are beech, lime trees, and various types of fruit trees.

A short row of pleached trees can be planted quite close, several feet apart. Trees that will be closer to full-size in the finished design can be planted more like 10 feet (3 meters) apart. The RHS provides some excellent detail on tree spacing for pleached rows.

They can be planted as low hedges or towering trees. If you wish to have an impressive grove, hornbeam trees offer instant architectural interest which is suitable for both front gardens and terraces.

Remove dead branches

Pleached Hornbeam Trees

Knowing when to properly trim a pleached hornbeam tree is important for its growth. Ideally, this should be done in winter after the tree has been growing for a couple of years, as it allows for better growth since the tree is dormant and leafless. In this article, I will explain when to trim a pleached hornbeam.For optimal results, one tree should be planted per row with a distance of two meters between them.

Planting of hornbeam can be performed during the fall or early spring and trees should be spaced accordingly for young (two feet) and mature trees (ten to fifteen feet). Consider increasing the spacing between trees if they grow taller and staking the central leader may be necessary.

To retain the form of a hornbeam tree, dead, cross, and damaged branches should be trimmed. Trimming should be avoided during hot and dry summers, particularly if the tree is prone to drought. To prevent damage to living wood, wait until spring to trim the tree.

For a healthy foundation, plant it in firmly packed soil and ensure its straightness by adding supports on sloped ground. Do not use cable ties or string as these can cause settling and will harm the tree over time.

A frame will be constructed to surround the hornbeam tree

Measure the height of each stake and record it. Secure each stake with a pencil or drill and deck screw. The frame should be at least one-half the stem length of the hornbeam, such as 150cm with one tree every other 150cm. Depending on size and height, trees can be spaced several feet or ten feet between them.

Planting deciduous trees during the winter months of November to April will yield a desired frame height. Bamboo is readily and economically available, promoting an environmentally conscious lifestyle. Before planting a tree, check its measurements. Constructing a frame will help safeguard from wind and soil erosion as well as maintain root water levels.

It is possible to compress the tree to avoid settling; additionally, yearly twice-year trimming can encourage new shoots, and form a shape fitting the frame.

Prune hornbeams to shape

Hornbeams can form multiple trunks and look untidy if not regularly maintained. To keep them tidy, remove all dead or diseased branches. Pollarding is effective in forming a formal hedge or living fence. Hornbeams can be used as privacy screens but need regular maintenance to remain attractive and healthy.

If you do wish to give them a particular form, consider that too much can render the tree lifeless, therefore take place during the end of winter when the sap is unlikely to flow down the trunk. Cutting too early or too later may kill the tree and cause it to discolor.

Hornbeam trees should be pruned at an angle to retain their shape, and are most commonly transplanted in the spring. In early summer, the leaves of a hornbeam tree are dark green and later turn to an autumnal shade of oranges.

The bark is blue-gray and stands out with snow in colder climates. Its life span is typically 50-150 years. American hornbeams are suitable for heavy pruning due to their wetland origin and shallow root system. These trees also cause little damage near walkways or areas with poor drainage, as they have a mature height of 15-20 feet. The type of pruning will affect if it’s a hedge, thicket, or shade tree.

Caring for hornbeams

Pleated hornbeams add an elegant touch to a garden with their tall, pleached branches which can provide privacy and many other uses. Hornbeams are popularly employed as privacy hedges in small areas. They are similar to espaliered apple trees but larger, forming a complete wall. Hornbeams are suitable for privacy screens too, as the horizontal branches of two adjacent trees can eventually combine.

Planting hornbeam trees in the fall is ideal, but can be done in spring as well. If necessary, stakes can be instituted along the central leader of young trees to guarantee correct spacing.

When planting, it is recommended to leave 2-10 feet between each of the hornbeams. Pruning should be completed during late winter or spring to help branches grow evenly. If you want a smaller tree, Tilia x euchlorine is an option.

Although it can be easier to prune the hornbeam compared to the lime, Nicholson mistakenly bought the wrong species. The National Trust replaced Tilia x europaea with T. platyphyllos instead for a better view of the trees in double rows. It is important to confirm which species you have before beginning any work.


Pleated hornbeams are tough plants that can withstand cold weather and be planted in dense clusters. These plants can grow up to 40 cm per year, which requires several years for reaching their full height.

As a hedge, they need regular pruning to maintain their shape. Hornbeams are resistant to heavy clay soils and can also tolerate windy conditions.

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