The European Hornbeam is a columnar tree noted for its fine and dense texture, ornamental smooth gray bark, well suited for use in urban areas as a focal specimen. This tree also has great architectural qualities and the dense canopy does provide privacy if used in a screening situation. When used in a lawn this generally low branched tree, will cause the lawn to thin. Shade tolerant plants should be planted in its shadow.Growing to a height of 40-60′ and 30′ in width this is one tree that should not be planted beneath utility lines. I would suggest that this be used in large open areas such as parks, campuses, near large buildings. It is just not suited to your 7,000 square foot residential lot.
A hardy tree, growing comfortably in zones 4-7, it is not a very fast growing tree but is quite adaptable to many soil types preferring well drained moist soils. Full sun allows this tree to really shine however, it will tolerate partial shade. As far as disease and pests go the European Hornbeam is quite free of problems and requires very little pruning.
Two widely recognized varieties:
‘Fastigiata’ – Perhaps the most readily available in the nursery trade, tends to be a bit more vase shaped than the name would lead you to believe.
‘Columnaris’ – Often confused with the ‘Fastigiata’ has a more pronounced central leader and is more of a columnar variety.
There are several other varieties, that are not readily available. (‘Globosa’, ‘Asplenifolia’)