American Hornbeam

As low as $89.09 was $109.99
Availability: In stock

Colorful, Well-Knit Native American Hornbeam

  • Underutilized Understory Tree
  • Full to Partial Shade or Full Sun
  • Magical Display as Leaves Unfurl Purple-Red in Spring
  • Incredible Fall Colors Include Red, Yellow and Orange
  • Unique Leaves Feature Corrugated Texture and Double-Toothed Margins
  • Lovely, Rounded Canopy
  • Blue-Gray Bark Develops Marvelous Flaring Character in Time
  • Muscular Trunk Brings Winter Interest
  • Nicknamed "Ironwood" and "Musclewood"
  • Excellent Wildlife Tree
  • Very Strong and Heavy Wood with Tight Grain and Slight Twist
  • Great for Turned Bowls, Heavy-Duty Wedges, Golf Clubs and Tool Handles
  • Can Be Coppiced for Firewood in Managed Timber Stand
  • Extraordinarily Hardy

Stand out from the crowd with a phenomenal small native tree. The local wildlife, from caterpillars to bobwhite quail, will thank you.

A perfect gift for the aspiring woodworker and nature lover in your family, American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) is a healthy, satisfying tree that fits perfectly into modern lots.

The sinuous trunk swells with life, and lives up to its nickname...Musclewood.

This is a thoughtful native tree to contemplate in every season. Allow it to grace your landscape, and you'll grow to appreciate its lyrical form.

Bold, purple-red foliage bursts forth in spring; snapping open their textured leaves like a Southern Belle's hand fan. The handsome leaves grow to display prominent veining along a strong midrib with noticeable double-toothed margins; maturing to green.

You'll add an excellent butterfly resource tree with this choice, as the leaves are a larval host for many species. Scientists estimate there are well over 65 types of butterflies who rely on these sinewy trees.

Like its Birch cousins, male and female catkins hang in early spring. Once the tree reaches maturity if it receives enough sunlight, it can start a periodic mast cycle every few years.

Nutlets are held in lobed bracts to provide a feast for many animals, along with the annual buds. These mid-size trees augment an Oak and Beech food forest beautifully.

This is a beautiful fall color tree, as well. The showy display spans the gamut from fiery yellow-orange to bright red once the nights start getting cooler.

Even the smooth gray, bulging bark of these shade-tolerant trees become a habitat for beautiful silvery-green lichen. Hornbeam looks ethereal in wintertime with a light cover of snow or frost.

The wood can handle extreme applications, ranking at 1780 pounds-force on the Janka hardness scale. It's also beautifully tight-grained and pale white, with finished products compared to ivory.

When mature, the shape can range from rounded to a broader, elliptical form. Its biggest benefit is its surprising shade tolerance it will thrive, even under the canopy of other trees but will be happiest in partial shade.

This is a spectacular choice for conscientious people across the country. Enjoy one of our most incredible small native trees, order American Hornbeam today!

How to Use American Hornbeam in the Landscape

These trees are especially welcome in a yard shaded by taller trees. Use one anywhere in a small yard to develop into a virile specimen without regard to sunlight conditions.

Add several for a grand-looking grove. Space them from 10 to 25 feet apart from trunk to trunk; varying the width for a more natural look.

This is a perfect choice to include in windbreaks, as it has supreme resistance to splitting. You'll relish American Hornbeam's fall color.

You'll also attract a variety of birds, including wild turkey, pheasant, and ruffled grouse. On a large property, pair with Red Oak, Chickasaw Plum and Hazelnut bushes as a plentiful resource for many animals.

Add Hornbeam to the edge of Rain Gardens. It loves a spot at the edge of a pond or creek, as well.

#ProPlantTips for Care

American Hornbeam likes wet feet, and is partial to a slightly acid-to-neutral soil pH. However, this versatile tree is adaptable to many soil types.

Plant without regard to sun exposure, unless you want to produce mast for wildlife. Then, it will need an opening in the canopy after a decade or so.

Water a medium amount on a regular basis. This is especially important in the first season, and in times of extended drought.

Apply a three-inch layer of mulch over the root system and spread it to three feet outside the canopy. This helps keep the roots cool and moist.

Prune in late winter to correct form or raise the height of the canopy. Sharpen your chain, and it's best to have a spare on hand.

Site your tree carefully, as it will not tolerate being moved. We ship American Hornbeam at the right size for transplant.

You'll be so pleased by the high quality of our plant material. Gift yourself or a loved one the admirable American Hornbeam. It's an exceptional choice.

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Keep in mind, specific varieties and different growing conditions can affect the rate at which plants grow. Variations in size may occur.

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#6 Container Ranges from 5.25 to 6.01 dry gallons / 23.12 to 26.42 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

Click Here to learn more

Plant Sentry


To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep. We use FedEx, UPS, or USPS at our discretion.

Due to winter weather we have put a hold on shipping to the areas shown below in grey. You can still order now and we will ship the plant to you during an appropriate time for your zone.

*If you have found your zone already, it will be highlighted in the table below.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
4 Now
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Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 24.99
20 - 49.99 29.99
50 - 69.99 34.99
70 - 99.99 39.99
100 - 129.99 44.99
130 - 149.99 48.99
150 - 150+ Approx 28%

Click here to see our full rates


American Hornbeam Is Suited to Grow in Zones 4-8
Growing Zones 4-8
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Carpinus caroliniana
Type Deciduous
Mature Height 20 - 30 feet
Mature Spread 20 - 30 feet
Sun Exposure Full Sun, Full Shade
Soil Widely Adaptable
Moisture Medium
Growth Rate Slow
Foliage Color New Growth Red-Purple, Ages to Green
Fall Color Yellow, Orange, Red
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Pruning Time Late Winter