Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Spacing: 25-30'
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

American Hop Hornbeam

Ostrya virginiana
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If Hop Hornbeam were a dog, it would be a terrier: small, shaggy, friendly, sturdy, and tough. This chipper native Tree will give a welcoming feel to your patio area, woodland garden, or backyard wildlife habitat. Tolerant of pollution and poor, dry soils, it also serves urban sites surprisingly well. Hop Hornbeam is a fine-textured Tree with thin, Birch-like leaves that turn dull gold in the fall and light gray bark that peels and flakes. Though never overwhelming in its ornamental attributes, it's a thoroughly charming little Tree. You'll find it easy to please and satisfying to have in your landscape. 

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Spacing: 25-30'
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

The Story

Few people could identify Hop Hornbeam in the wild, though it grows over much of the Eastern U.S., from Minnesota to Texas and east until you reach the coastal pains. It exists as an understory Tree in acidic woodland environments and has also found a niche on dry, rocky outcroppings in sunnier sites. Hop Hornbeam is also called Ironwood because of its densely grained wood; it's harder than Oak, Hickory, or even Persimmon. Settlers fashioned Hop Hornbeam into durable items like ax handles and sleigh runners, but you'll appreciate it for its strength in the landscape under the pressure of ice, snow, and wind. 

The Details

The 'Hop' in Hop Hornbeam comes from the interesting seed cases, which look like the dangling fruits of the Hop Vine. Chickadees and titmice may come to feed on the seeds when they ripen. In rural areas, turkeys and grouse enjoy the seeds after they've fallen to the ground.

How to Grow

Largely trouble-free and accommodating, Hop Hornbeam is a good Tree for beginning gardeners and for challenging sites. Give it a spot in full sun or part shade in any kind of soil except those prone to wetness. Water regularly the first year or two; after that, normal rainfall should suffice. One thing Hop Hornbeam is sensitive to is salt spray; it is not a good choice for coastal gardens. Prune in summer or fall to avoid the heavy 'bleeding' of sap that occurs in late winter. Bleeding isn't harmful to the tree, but may seem troubling to you!

More Info

Cold Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 3
Heat Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 9
Exposure Full Sun to Part Shade
Avg Mature Height 30-40' Tall
Avg Mature Width 20-30' Tall
Spacing 25-30'
Growth Rate Slow
Leaf Color Green
Fall Leaf Color Yellow
Cary Award Winner No
PA Gold Medal Award No
Attractive Bark No
Attracts Birds Yes
Attracts Butterflies No
Attracts Hummingbirds No
Attracts Pollinators No
Deer Resistant Yes
Drought Tolerant No
Dry, Poor Soils Yes
Edible Fruit No
Fragrant No
Groundcover No
Hedge/Windbreak No
Native Yes
Salt Tolerance/Seashore No
Seasonal Cut Branches No
Shade Tolerance Yes
Showy Flowers No
Specimen No
Urban Conditions Yes
Utility Line Trees No
Wet Moist Soils No
Winter Interest No
Woodland Garden Yes
Decor/Craft Use No

Size Guide

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