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The Weeping European Hornbeam is a rare but delightful ornamental tree that will make a lovely accent in your landscape in all seasons. In spring, the bright green pleated leaves emerge, soon covering the mound-shaped framework of branches from head to toe. In summer, the kids will discover the secret playspace underneath the domed canopy, quickly declaring it off-limits to adults. In fall, the foliage will take on golden and amber tones, and in winter, the smooth gray branches—rippled like an elite athlete’s muscles—are revealed. Sturdy, strong, graceful, long-lived, and easy to care for, it’s a wonder this beautiful weeping tree is so uncommon.
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
- Spacing: 20-40'
- Exposure: Sun
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Native to much of Europe as well as western Asia, the European Hornbeam has a long history in cultivation. This resilient tree is amenable to frequent shearing, and if you ever visit England or some other European countries, you’re likely to see old Hornbeam hedges that have been maintained for decades or even centuries. The extremely hard wood also made Hornbeam lumbervaluable in the past for things like butcher blocks and wagon wheel spokes. The origin of this unique weeping form of Hornbeam is unclear, but it is believed to have appeared in France around 1850.
Landscape architects often talk about the importance of “structure” in the garden, and the Weeping European Hornbeam is one tree that supplies this vital element all year long. This tree’s quiet strength is especially evident in winter, when its muscly branches are on full display. They arch and cascade in the most elegant way, and are never so beautiful as when they are outlined with a frosting of snow.
How to Grow
Despite its rarity and its sophisticated good looks, the Weeping European Hornbeam is no diva, and it couldn’t be easier to please. Give it a location in full sun to part shade and regular water during the first few years—though it is drought tolerant once established. It isn’t fussy about soils and will even thrive in heavy clay provided drainage is good. Like other European Hornbeams, it tolerates frequent pruning, but this weeping form looks best unpruned. The only trimming you may need to do is it to neaten up the ends if you don’t want the branches to drag on the ground.
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Size B Trees:
6-7' Tall. This weeping specimen will make a wonderful addition and be an immediate impact on any landscape. Grown in our #15 tree container.
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