Carpinus caroliniana

American hornbeam

Outstanding Qualities

Carpinus caroliniana is a versatile and tough tree that tolerates the shady understory conditions of a woodland or the poor compacted soils of the urban landscape. This elegant, slow growing tree has attractive smooth gray bark and a fluted, crooked trunk with a distinctive muscle-like appearance. The thin paper-like foliage turns lovely scarlet and orange in the fall. This tree is easy to grow and has no serious pests or disease problems.

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: dark green, variegated

Great Color Partners: silver, orange, red

Culture Notes

This slow growing hornbeam will do best in full sun or light to deep shade. It is not fussy about soil as long as it is well-drained and it will tolerate sandy and clay situations. Once established it is very drought tolerant. Pruning is needed only to remove dead, broken or poorly formed limbs.

© J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: tree

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 m.)

Plant Width/Spread: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 m.)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 to 9

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun or light to deep shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant when established