Pleached Hornbeam Trees, Common Hornbeam, European Hornbeam, Yoke Elm

Pleached Carpinus betulus (Betulaceae)

Pleached Hornbeam or Carpinus Betulus is the most popular deciduous pleached tree species sold in the United Kingdom by far, due to its many outstanding qualities. Delicate in appearance but hardy by nature, a tree with a mystical heritage, there is a place in every garden for Hornbeam in one form or another.

In mid-April, new lime green coloured leaves are produced. Pleached Hornbeam trees recover quickly after pruning, producing new growth continuously throughout the growing season. The autumn leaf colour is golden yellow. Carpinus betulus really enjoys being managed, they suffer from very few diseases, a tree for the future.

  • Deciduous
  • Hi and low pleached options
  • Carpinus Betulus is also available as screens, tall hedges, instant hedge elements, topiary and form trees, cylinders, block on clear stem, box head trees, columns, blocks, cones, arches, roof trained trees, multistem umbrella, multistem roof, cylinder on stem, arches, multistem, feathered trees, tall standard
  • Clear stem girth from 12-14cm up to 35-40cm, occasionally bigger ones available but larger clear stem pleached Hornbeam need booking in advance
  • Various clear stem heights and frame sizes available
  • Trained on bamboo cane frame in pleached form for 1-10 years in some cases even longer
  • Available as freshly pleached trees while stocks last
  • Pleached Hornbeam trees are available in pots and containers, cocoa rootball or rootball plants
  • Nationwide delivery service by articulated lorry, smaller vehicle by prior arrangement. Call us to discuss your requirements.
pleached hornbeam - carpinus betulus
Contact us

Here are some examples of clear stem pleached hornbeam trees available from Hedgeworx. Click any image to enlarge or to send an enquiry about that specific plant.

Or view our range of Hornbeam ‘Lucas’ or our full range of pleached species.

About Hornbeam – Carpinus betulus (Betulaceae)

At Hedgeworx, clear stem pleached hornbeam (Carpinus Betulus) is the most popular form tree species we sell. Available in the widest range of pretrained shapes and sizes particularly as freshly pleached and also more mature pleached hornbeam trees. Hornbeam (like Beech), maintained in a formal fashion with tightly clipped crowns, hold onto their leaves into the winter. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental tree for planting in gardens and parks throughout North West Europe.

A Native Species

Carpinus Betulus, can be found across the United Kingdom in formal gardens and urban settings. Trees of 200 years old or more are quite common, reaching a height of 15-20m. Of all the deciduous species which lend themselves to being managed, Hornbeam is perhaps the one which enjoys it most.

A relatively small tree which quite happily grows beneath the canopies of much larger trees, it is a real survivor. In reduced light conditions it copes surprising well with the damage caused by bows of larger trees falling into it. Perhaps its ability to heal so easily from severe damage and continue to produce new growth so vigorously is testament to why this tree is ideal for even the most demanding training. In fact, this tree is so strong year round that it will drop all of its leaves during the summer months if it is not watered correctly or during severe drought conditions (when other trees do not and instead fail).

This simple defense mechanism reduces the need for the uptake of moisture from the ground. Once rain falls, the tree produces a whole new set of leaves within a 6-8-week period, often denser than the first set and in some instances, you would never know the tree had been through a period of stress. A real survivor and one of our favourite trees for training. Please note, trees will fail if not watered correctly. Our tests were carried out in nursery conditions. While we have recorded this behaviour in the wild, not all trees survive. Failure to irrigates trees correctly can lead to parts of or all of the tree dying. Do not allow a tree to lose its leaves due to a lack of moisture.

Care and Maintenance

Clipping the crown of pleached Hornbeam on a regular basis produces a dense almost impenetrable canopy where the bamboo frames used for initial training are soon hidden. The young intricate branches and twigs are grey-brown in colour while the bark of the older branches and bows, including the trunk is dark grey. The bark is smooth to touch. The leaves are deeply corrugated with veins, avoid in shape and bright green, measuring 6-10cm long. From mid-April onwards the Hornbeam produces its new leaves making it earlier than the Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica). The vivid green leaves (4-9cm long) quickly produce a dense covering and gradually turn a dark colour green as the season progresses.

Small catkins are produced in April/May producing small ovoid ribbed nuts months later – in garden or grounds maintenance terms the spoils are of little consequence apart from the annual autumn leaf clear up. In autumn the leaves turn golden yellow and then brown.

If pleached Hornbeam trees are pruned annually, the dry brown leaves tend to remain on the tree well into the winter and in some cases only to fall off when new leaves push through in the spring. The root system is relatively close to the surface so careful consideration must be given to hard landscaping in this area. The trees are usually considered non-toxic and they suffer from very few diseases.

What Soil and Environment does it need?

Hornbeam or Carpinus Betulus  can be found all over the United Kingdom, the exception being exposed coastal sites and elevations above 600m. It will grow in most soil conditions and it is surprisingly adaptable and quite happily grows in areas of London with moderate clay, while doing equally well in sandy loamy soils on the South coast of England and the like. It copes surprisingly well in dry and wet soil conditions and can cope with short periods of flooding.

Considered winter hardy it can easily deal with the most extreme weather conditions the United Kingdom can throw its way. It does surprisingly well on windy sites. Suitable for planting in low light and shadow conditions. This really is a versatile tree ideally suited to tall hedges, topiary and form trees, cylinders, block on stem, columns, blocks, cones, arches, roof trained trees, low screens (low pleached trees), high screen (high pleached trees) sometimes called stilt hedging, multistem umbrella, multistem roof, cylinder on stem, hi and low espalier.

Pleached hornbeam are available as rootball plants in the winter months, potted stock available while stocks last and cocoa root ball plants can be arranged for delivery throughout summer period by prior arrangement, contact us to check availability. More about Hornbeam from the Woodland Trust.

Planting advice for Pleached trees, Freshly Pleached trees, Espalier trees and Freshly Espaliered trees.

An important consideration when planting pleached Hornbeam trees or espalier trees in a straightfreshly pleached trees ready to be planted line is the slope of the ground level. Pleached or Espalier trees look their best when they are planted on flat or gently sloping ground. Doing so will line up the frames and clear stems, creating the effect of one continuous line of hedge screen when viewed at all angles. Even on a gradual slope this effect can be achieved. However, with a slope of more than 10-12 degrees, it may be necessary to step the trees/frames when planting (the frames on freshly pleached trees can be manipulated to account for a sharper slope of perhaps 15 degree if necessary)…

Read our full planting guide here or call customer service for advice.

How are Pleached Hornbeam Trees made?

freshly pleaching trees on framePleached trees or screen trees start life as a seedling or cutting, much like any other tree, being repotted or replanted a number of times in their formative years. They grow happily on the nursery with hundreds or even thousands of other trees. When the time is right, highly skilled nurserymen and woman go out into the field amongst the trees with tags in hand and pick the very best trees for pleaching. The criteria for choosing the best trees for training includes, selecting those with the straightest stems, healthy root stock and appropriately spreading and uninform crowns.

Read our full guide to pleaching trees here

Pleached Hornbeam delivery costs vary depending on several factors:lifting large plants over a house

  • The order quantity
  • If you want us to plant them
  • Accessibility of the site
  • If any need sourcing
  • The seasonal ability to lift or plant specific species.
  • We offer a personal shopping experience, so please contact us to discuss your individual requirements and delivery timescales with our expert customer services.

Pleached Hornbeam
Carpinus betulus (Betulaceae)
The most popular deciduous pleached species sold in the United Kingdom by far, due to its many outstanding qualities.
Learn More
Pleached Hornbeam ‘Lucas’
Carpinus betulus ‘Lucas’ (Betulaceae)
The Hornbeam ‘Lucas’ is a relative newcomer (2003) It produces long slender branches, recovers well after pruning and generates new growth reasonably quickly.
Learn More
Pleached Common Beech
Fagus sylvatica (Fagaceae)
The Common Beech is one of the most majestic native trees in the British Isles. It positively enjoys being managed in a formal compact fashion.
Learn More
Pleached Copper Beech
Fagus sylvatica ‘Atropunicea’, Fagus sylvatica Purpurea (Fagaceae)
Like the Fagus sylvatica the Fagus sylvatica ‘Atropunicea’, is an imposing tree. Careful consideration needs to be given to the positioning of this trees due to its striking purple colour in spring.
Learn More
Pleached Lime
Tilia cordata ‘Rancho’ (Tiliaceae)
The cultivar Tilia cordata ‘Rancho’ is ideal for planting along paths, driveways and avenues. The year-round interest created by this small compact tree ensures it is fast becoming a firm favourite.
Learn More
Pleached Yew Hicksii
Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’ (Taxaceae)
One of the smallest yews in the family. Dark green needles, a profusion of red berries in late summer and autumn. A slow growing species which requires little maintenance apart from a light clip every so often.
Learn More
Pleached Yew
Taxus Baccata (Taxaceae)
Taxus baccata is native to the British Isles and considered by many to be the most elegant and stylish evergreen specie available. The small tightly knit needle like leaves and compact habit create a very tidy formal appearance.
Learn More
Pleached Portuguese Laurel
Prunus lusitanica ‘Angustifolia’ (Rosacae)
With its close-knit tidy habit, small narrow glossy dark green leaves and red stems the Portuguese Laurel makes for an ideal candidate for training in a formal habit.
Learn More
Pleached Cherry Laurel
Prunus laurocerasus ‘Novita’ (Rosaceae)
Novita is a quick growing evergreen with tree like qualities. A relatively new cultivar it is a hardy plant with mid green leaves which provides solid screening.
Learn More
Pleached Cherry Laurel ‘Caucasica’
Prunus laurocerasus ‘Caucasica’ (Rosaceae)
Another hardy cultivar of the popular Cherry Laurel, the ‘Caucasica’ has a vigorous upright growth habit and well suited to being managed in a formal fashion.
Learn More
Pleached Photinia Red Robin
Photinia × fraseri ‘Red Robin’ (Rosaceae)
The pleached Photinia × fraseri ‘Red Robin’, is the most widely sold evergreen screen on the market. Fast growing, it is the most competitive too.
Learn More
Pleached Holly
Ilex Aquifolium ‘Nellie Stevens’
A small to medium sized evergreen tree ideal for screening purposes due to its compact habit. This cultivar produces a mass of red berries which linger long into the winter.
Learn More
Pleached Elaeagnus
Elaeagnus ebbingei (Elaeagnaceae)
An outstanding evergreen which really enjoys being managed. Elaeagnus is highly regarded for its sweet fragrance and tiny bell-shaped white flowers
Learn More
Pleached Field Maple
Acer campestre ‘Huibers Elegant’ (Aceraceae)
The Field Maple ‘Huibers Elegant’ share many of the same qualities as the Acer campestre ‘Elsrijk’. It is characterised by its beautiful small leaves.
Learn More
Pleached Field Maple
Acer campestre ‘Elsrijk’ (Aceraceae)
The popular Field Maple ‘Elsrijk’ is characterised by its small delicate green leaves and neat uniform oval crown.
Learn More
Pleached Holm Oak
Quercus ilex
The Quercus ilex is a beautiful large evergreen Oak tree, with small dark green leaves, capable of living for thousands of years. One of the very best upmarket evergreen species available.
Learn More
Pleached Persian Ironwood
Parrotia persica (Hamamelidaceae)
Deciduous trees don’t come much better than the Persian Ironwood. It's leaves start off dark green and change to dark red/purple as the season progresses.
Learn More
Pleached Crab Apple
Malus Toringo ‘Scarlett’
Widely regarded as the most popular red leaved Crab Apple on the market. Young deep red leaves contrast superbly with the long-lasting dark pink blossom in spring.
Learn More
Pleached Crab Apple ‘Evereste’
Malus ‘Evereste’, Malus perpetu ‘Evereste’ (Rosaceae)
The Crab Apple Malus ‘Evereste’ is a beautiful disease resistant, compact ornamental tree, providing white blossom in spring and colourful orange red fruit in autumn.
Learn More
Pleached Magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora ‘Galissoniere’ (Magnoliaceae)
Southern Magnolia is a classic evergreen cultivar grown for planting against walls and creating natural formal divides and garden structures.
Learn More
Pleached Sweet Gum
Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ (Hamamelidaceae)
The Sweet Gum has a wonderful habit and beautiful Maple like leaves. They emerge in spring bright green and from September onwards they put on a show which is almost unrivalled by any other tree.
Learn More
Pleached Leylandii
Cupressocyparis leylandii (Cupressaceae)
This very large evergreen hybrid is used widely for large and small screening due to its fast growth habit and dense conical crown.
Learn More
Pleached Hawthorn ‘Paul Scarlet’
Crataegus laevigata ‘Coccinea Plena’, Crataegus oxycantha ‘Paul Scarlet’, (Rosaceae)
The tree produces a beautiful floral display of stunning bright red fragrant blossom which can last from the end of May to July.
Learn More
Pleached Cornelian Cherry
Cornus mas (Cornaceae)
The Cornus mas produces a beautiful early blossom in February/March which completely covers the tree in small yellow flowers.
Learn More
Contact us