Carpinus or common Hornbeam is a deciduous, native tree whose name is thought to translate to 'hard tree' from middle English times so called for the strength of its wood which is the hardest of any tree is Europe and was traditionally used for coach wheels and cogs for water mills.  

It has pale grey bark with vertical markings with green leaves similar to beech, oval with pointed tips, however Hornbeam leaves are smaller and more deeply furrowed with finely toothed edges. 

Hornbeam leaves will turn yellow in autumn and although deciduous will keep most of the leaves during winter which provides shelter to native wildlife, catkins open in spring and its large, winged seeds can be spotted in autumn as they are dispersed by the wind. 

Where to site your Carpinus 

Tall, bushy trees best sited where you want to screen out any overlooking neighbours along a fence line. 

How to grow and look after your Carpinus 

Hornbeam will grow in most soils including difficult spots like heavy clay and chalky soils. It is happy in wet soil as long as it isn’t water-logged for long periods especially over the winter however it is at its best in well draining soil. It is tolerant of wind and will grow in exposed sites and likes full sun but will also tolerate partial and even deep shade. 

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