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American Hornbeam

hornbeam tree

American hornbeam

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Scientific Name: Carpinus caroliniana

Other Common Names: Ironwood, musclewood, blue beech

Under Power Lines:
Yes—this tree is approved for planting under power lines.

Street Tree Planting:
Yes—minimum planting strip width of 5 feet. If planting a street tree, you must be approved for a permit.

An attractive small deciduous tree, native to the eastern U.S., that works well under power lines and along the street. This tree produces an attractive dark green, wide-spreading canopy that turns orange and red in the fall.

hornbeam leaf

American hornbeam leaf

Mature Height:
25 feet

Mature Spread:
25 feet

Deciduous tree with dark green leaves during the growing season and nice orange and red fall color.

Small, non-showy orange flowers in spring.

Small nutlets, which turn from green to brown in later summer.

Cultural Notes:
Tree grows well in full sun to shade and does well in most soil types.

Potential Problems:
Very few disease or pest concerns in our region. The American hornbeam requires structural pruning to maintain a single trunk.

Minimum Planting Distances:

  • 3 ½ feet back from the face of the curb
  • 5 feet from underground utility lines
  • 10 feet from power poles
  • 7 ½ feet from driveways (10 feet recommended)
  • 20 feet from street lights and other existing trees
  • 30 feet from street intersections

More Information:


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