How I Prune My Hornbeam Hedge

I want to be able to trim my hornbeam hedge myself. I don’t want to deal with scheduling a Landscaper. That’s why I decided not to let my trees grow too tall. My hedge is the height I can reach with my tallest ladder. It’s not science. It’s practicality.

Quick Facts About My Hornbeam

  • Variety – Carpinus betulus ‘Frans Fontaine’
  • Grows in Zone 4a to 8b
  • Grows roughly 35 ft tall and 9-15 ft wide (maintains columnar shape)
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • My hedge is made up of six trees.
Pruning my hornbeam hedge in spring
Inspecting my Hornbeam hedge after its first trim of the season.

Hornbeam are great trees for hedges.

Their branches grow close to the ground and they’re very tolerant of pruning. The variety of trees I grow, Carpinus betulus ‘Frans Fontaine’, hold onto their leaves through most of the winter in my garden. That’s an added bonus because they add structure to the winter garden.

The Main Reason for Pruning

I prune to encourage the hornbeam to branch out and increase their widths. I’m not planning to allow the trees to get much taller than what you see in the photos. I want to be able to prune my hornbeam hedge using a ladder. If I let them grow tall, I’ll a landscape crew for pruning.

Eventually, this hedge will close the openings between one another and form a wall.

When I am pruning, I am trimming branches at the top of the hornbeam to maintain their height and I am trimming up the edges so they don’t get wide. I’ll allow the spaces between the trees to close up over time, but for now, I am maintaining their columnar shape.

Video Showing How I Prune My Hornbeam Hedge

The video below gives you a quick look at how I prune by hornbeam hedge. It’s an easy task that I do early in Spring and again towards the end of summer.

Hornbeam trees are great for hedges in the home garden.

Forcing Hornbeam Branches

Newly emerging hornbeam leaves

I like to save some of the branches from pruning to force inside. I love the color of the newly emerging leaves. To me, it’s the color of spring, and I can use a little spring right about now.

I hope you found this video helpful. Happy gardening!

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