Why plant Audubon® Native American Hornbeam Treeling?
For bird-friendly landscapes in small spaces, this native understory tree is hard to beat. American Hornbeam is a modestly-sized tree that’s big in benefits. A member of the Birch family, it produces buds, catkins, and seeds that many birds relish. In backyard gardens, you may find warblers, nuthatches, and finches coming to dine. In more rural areas, ruffed grouse, bobwhites, and turkeys are fans. American Hornbeam also hosts several species of caterpillars and other insects, which make up an important part of the diet of many of our native songbirds, such as wrens, robins, and orioles. It’s a full-service bird café!
Perhaps you know American Hornbeam by one of its other names: Blue Beech, Water Beech, Ironwood, or Musclewood. Quite likely you have seen it on a hike through the woods—once encountered, it is seldom forgotten. Its trunk, like rippling muscles under a thin skin of bark, begs to be touched, and its fiery fall color rivals that of some maples. American Hornbeam is found in wild spaces all over the Eastern U.S and even into Canada and Mexico, but nowhere is it common in landscapes. That needs to change!
How to use Audubon® Native American Hornbeam Treeling in the landscape?
The good ol' American Hornbeam, this native hardwood is not subject to cracking or splitting and was used by American pioneers for bowls and dishes. There's your history lesson for the day! Green foliage transforms into shades of yellow, orange, and red in fall - a bright contrast to the smooth gray bark. Grows best in partial shade but will also grow in full sun.
Hardiness Zone: 3-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native American Hornbeam Treeling
This Country Mouse is sensitive to some of the grittier elements of city life—salt, pollution, baking sun—but with a little thought to its siting and aftercare, it is a remarkably trouble-free tree. Surely it is adaptable if it has established itself from Canada to Mexico! If your lot affords no shade, American Hornbeam is still an option if you can supply plenty of water; in fact, even occasional flooding is OK for this species. Fall color and the bronzy new foliage in spring will be brighter in sun.
How To Water
Water twice weekly for the first 3-5 weeks; then water weekly for the remainder of the year until winter. When you water, water slowly and thoroughly. Watering needs may be altered due to extreme weather conditions.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant Food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant Food granular form on an annual basis each fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
The American Hornbeam rarely needs pruning. In late summer to early fall, you can prune the lower branches to expose the smooth, muscle-y bark if you'd like - or, if you have little ones that love to climb, leave them be. The branches of the Hornbeam are strong and perfect for little climbers!