Hornbeam Tree

Hornbeam Tree – Carpinus caroliniana

The hornbeam tree, also known as the American hornbeam, is a popular landscaping tree that attracts birds and other wildlife throughout the year. The hornbeam has a compact shape with a thin trunk and a full, round canopy. The tree reaches heights of 20 to 40 feet wide with a canopy that is 20 to 30 feet wide. This tree grows in Hardiness Zones 3 through 9.

Often used in landscaping, the hornbeam is suitable for shading small lawns and as an understory element in shaded areas. The tree has a slow growth rate of approximately 1 foot per year. As an ornamental, the hornbeam offers extravagant foliage in both spring and autumn. In spring, crimson leaflets turn green, and the green leaves become deep red, orange or yellow in autumn. The flowers are catkins, and female hornbeam trees produce winged seeds throughout the spring months.

Hornbeam trees are low-maintenance trees that grow well in full sun, full shade and partially shaded locations. The trees prefer slightly acidic, moist soil that is rich in organic matter, but can also tolerate wet soil. The trees are generally resistant to pests and disease, and hornbeams tolerate hot weather and flooded conditions. To successfully transplant the tree, wrap the root ball in burlap before planting it in spring.

The hornbeam tree has a smooth grey trunk that is corded like muscles, resulting in the common name of musclewood. The simple, alternate leaves are dark green with serrated leaf margins and an elliptic or oval shape. The pinnate leaves grow from two to five inches long.

As the tree ages, it develops multiple trunks for an ornamental addition to winter landscapes. Alternately, the tree can be trimmed to a central stem to produce a single trunk that has layers of foliage. Known as the ironwood tree, mature hornbeams have drooping branches that resist breakage.

Favorite Fall Trees

There’s nothing quite as gorgeous as a landscape of color-changing trees during the autumn months. The luscious reds, oranges and bright yellows transport us to a warmer climate and remind us of the turning seasons and the natural beauty we’re lucky to witness every day. Leaves crunch beneath our feet and our thoughts are filled with cider, chilly evenings and the coming holidays.

There are a large number of trees that turn colors in the fall season. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about fall’s favorite trees or thought about planting one in your yard, here is a list of the most popular types as well as some basic facts:

Red Maple

The red maple tree is one of the largest types of maples. Its leaves turn a brilliant shade of crimson red during the fall months and for this reason is a fall favorite among tree enthusiasts. Red maple trees grow to be between 40 and 50 feet tall and grow rather quickly. Red maple trees can be seen in a variety of regions.

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Sugar Maple

Sugar maple trees are also very large maples that turn a brilliant shade of red during the autumn months. They are one of the most prominent types of maples in the northern U.S. and Canada. The sugary sap from sugar maple trees is responsible for creating most types of maple syrup. The wood from sugar maple trees is used for a wide variety of furniture making.

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Black Gum

The black gum tree is not quite as large as its maple cousins, but still turns a gorgeous orange shade during fall. The leaves on black gum trees are smaller and oval shaped. This tree is commonly seen in the northeastern part of the United States. Migrating birds will often eat the fruit on black gum trees as they make their way across the sky during the fall. This makes the black gum tree an important tree in our ecosystem.

Tulip Poplar

Tulip poplar trees grow in many different states on the eastern U.S. coast and have leaves that turn a bright shade of yellow during the fall months. They can grow to extremely tall heights– up to 190 feet tall! This makes them an excellent shade tree. Tulip poplar trees are also one of most popular poplars used in natural honey harvesting.

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When it comes to choosing a favorite fall tree, there are plenty of gorgeous types to choose from. Crimson red, orange and vibrant yellow– there’s a tree to match everyone’s favorite fall hue.

Great Reasons To Plant Trees

In the past few decades, trees became one of the many horticultural casualties of the great housing spread. Suburban developments sprouted seemingly overnight, and while most of them boasted a host of amenities, lovely new dwellings, and even postage-stamp sized lawns, there was something missing. Trees were largely absent—either as preserved old growth specimens or new plantings—but recent research tells a startling story about the human need for trees. While we could talk only about how they benefit humans and human settlements, trees also offer a host of other positive offerings for the ecosystem as a whole. Wait, what was that about studies?

Physical and Psychological Benefits

Beyond the politics of climate change, objective data collected by NOAA indicates that our planet is in the midst of climate change directly associated with rising levels of greenhouse  gasses. Whether you agree with the point that human activity is involved in this climatic shift or not, what everyone can agree upon is that trees love carbon dioxide. They need it in order to complete the process of photosynthesis, and the byproduct of this action is oxygen. While each species of tree varies, according to basic calculations, a mature specimen will consume as much as 48 pounds of oxygen every year, producing ample oxygen to sustain two adult humans. That’s pretty substantial, but the good news doesn’t end there.

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The preliminary findings of several studies indicate that the presence of trees in a living environment reduces stress and psychological burdens. While there’s still quite a bit more research to be done in this area, the effects, whatever their cause, are worth noting. Reduced blood pressure, improved mood and immune function, better sleep and more energy, and even an increased rate of wound healing are all basic benefits to spending time among trees.

Income Inequality and Arboriculture

These data are all pretty compelling reasons to plant trees wherever possible, but a rather interesting trend may offer yet more motivation for arboriculture. One analysis of several conducted in the past five years has shown that income inequality within the built environment—particularly fully urban areas—can be directly correlated to the presence of trees. In spaces that lacked them, intense poverty was often present and could be readily correlated to a unique phenomenon in the United States—the Food Desert. This term describes areas where access to fresh food and basic nutritional needs are often absent or extremely restricted. Would this trend shift if gardens and trees were planted in these areas? The data suggests as much.

The Need to Know

If you’re interested in planting trees on your property, there are several points to consider before you begin. Take a few moments to assess the following list and conduct any research you feel is needed in order to make the right choice.

  • What is the climate in which you live? Are there trees that flourish more than others? Look at the hardiness zones to narrow your search.
  • On your property, is there sufficient space clear from pipes and buried electrical lines to permit tree growth? Check with your local utility providers.
  • If you live in an apartment or your property is unsuited to planting, which species make attractive container trees? Assess how much sunlight your property receives.
  • When you’re ready to buy—the late fall being a great time to plant trees—get in touch with a nursery. Much as in any aspect of life, specialists are the best people to consult. Nurseries make it their business to know everything there is about the cultivation and care of plants. They have the resources to invest in the best techniques and tools, which means trees procured from them are most likely to be healthy and beautiful. In fact, they specifically cultivate and nurture young trees—which grow more rapidly once planted than older individual specimens after transplant. They will be able to offer information and advice on how you can best foster a beautiful and beneficial tree or grove just beyond your window. Why wait? Good health for you and for the environment is nearer than you think.