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The easy-care hornbeams not only look good as solitaires in the garden bed, they are also ideal for planting in a hedge, which will provide good privacy after a few years. Because Carpinus betulus grows quickly and forgives even small care mistakes. In addition, the dense hedges are a good shelter for many native animals and especially birds that like to nest here. Instructions and all the knowledge needed to plant a hornbeam hedge are provided here.

The ideal time

Ideally, the hornbeams and thus the plants for a hedge are planted in late autumn. Because at this time of year the soil moisture is ideal for the young plants. On the other hand, if you missed the time in autumn and only want to plant in spring, you should buy hornbeams in containers, as the roots of these are already covered with soil.

If the plants are planted in spring, the soil must be properly moistened and watered frequently. Despite everything, not all newly planted hornbeams survive the planting at the wrong time in spring and die.


The hornbeam grows in almost every location. For this reason and because of its dense growth, it is so popular as a hedge, for example as a border on the side of a road or as a privacy screen from the neighboring garden.

The ideal location is therefore as follows:

  • sunny to semi-shady
  • mostly shade is also tolerated
  • as a property border and privacy screen
  • can also be cultivated on steep slopes

soil condition

The hornbeam hedge, which is usually relatively easy to care for, makes certain demands on the soil. So it should be humic, calcareous and permeable at the desired location. Waterlogging is not tolerated at all. Therefore, before the first autumn planting, the soil should be prepared as follows.

  • Mix in the compost
  • Mix in the lime
  • alternatively, the compost was mixed with lime beforehand
  • sand for permeability
  • clay to retain moisture

A layer of mulch over the soil also prevents it from drying out quickly. Therefore, immediately after planting the hornbeam hedge, distribute the mulch on the ground around the individual trees.

Instructions for planting

Ideally, a line is drawn before inserting so that the hornbeam hedge grows straight later. To do this, use a stick at the beginning and end of the later hedge and pull a rope from one end to the other. You can now dig along here and excavate the earth.

Here and when planting, the following procedure should be followed:

  • dig a ditch 30 cm wide and 40 cm deep
  • put the soil in a wheelbarrow provided
  • here it can be well prepared
  • Fold in sand, peat, compost and lime and mix well with soil
  • create drainage on the bottom of the ditch to prevent waterlogging
  • use medium-sized boulders or potsherds for this purpose
  • Plant the hornbeam at the calculated planting distance
  • A ruler or tape measure can be used for this
  • Fill in the soil and tread firmly
  • use supports for stability at the beginning

After planting, the hornbeam hedge must be watered immediately. After that, mulch can be placed on the ground. The first cut can now also be made directly and should be kept regularly with the young plants. The young hornbeams are cut at least six times a year for the first few years. If bales or containers are used, the hornbeams should be well watered at the roots before planting. To do this, they can be placed one after the other in a bucket of water until no more air bubbles form.


The distance between each Carpinus betulus should be around 50 cm, so as a rule of thumb two plants are needed per meter of hedge. If more saplings are planted in a row as a hedge so that it is dense from the start, later, when they grow larger, some of the saplings may have to be removed from the gaps. Otherwise the hornbeam hedge could be bare from below.

However, there are the following rules of thumb for the planting distance:

  • between two hornbeams with pads there is a distance of 50 cm
  • 30 to 40 cm can also be sufficient between smaller trees without roots
  • if a hedge is to be about two meters high, the distance is 80 cm

Since it takes a few years for the hedge to grow two meters high, the hornbeams can be planted every 40 cm when the hedge is created. If the hedge is higher, one can always be removed between two other hornbeams. This ensures tightness even with low hedges.


A hornbeam needs little fertilizer. When the hedge is first planted, the soil is enriched with compost and lime, which is quite enough for the first year after cultivation. If the hedge was planted in autumn, it is sufficient to mix in some compost in the spring of the year after next.

Depending on what is used as irrigation water, additional liming is not absolutely necessary, because if water is mainly poured with tap water, this already contains a part of lime, which is sufficient for the hornbeam. Otherwise, when fertilizing the hornbeam hedge, proceed as follows.

  • use organic fertilizer
  • compost once a year
  • possibly sprinkle lime at the same time
  • usually in spring
  • Organic fertilizers are also available in powder form in specialist garden shops
  • Mulching isn't just good for retaining moisture
  • Horn meal can also be spread with the mulch
  • as the hornbeam gets older, it hardly needs fertilizer

A layer of bark mulch mixed with horn shavings can be applied to the soil around the hornbeam in the hedge regularly every four weeks. On the one hand, this serves to fertilize and protect the roots. Since the hornbeam does not shed its leaves even in winter, the application of mulch makes a lot of sense here. High-quality larch bark mulch is best suited here, but any other mulch can also be used.

Prices for Carpinus betulus

If you want to create a hornbeam hedge, you should first measure how long it should be. Accordingly, it is calculated how many hornbeam plants are needed. If a planting distance of 50 cm is assumed, two plants per meter must be calculated. If the hedge is to be eight meters long, for example, at least 16 hornbeams are required. The prices are different because the hornbeam is offered in different variants.

The prices are based on the following criteria:

  • container goods
  • ball plant
  • bare root
  • size also matters
  • if the hornbeam already has a topiary, it is more expensive
  • Buying from a well-stocked gardening store or mail order will make a difference in price

It can be assumed that the costs for bare-rooted hornbeams are the lowest, and it is precisely these that are often chosen for a hedge that is to be planted in late autumn. In addition, the hedge plants are often offered in bundles of 10 or 50 pieces. These are between 40 and 70 cm high and should be considered as bale goods.

The price for these containers is around one to two euros per hornbeam. If you want to buy Carpinus betulus in a well-stocked garden store, the prices are slightly higher than, for example, in mail order. However, nurseries often offer a guarantee on their products so that hornbeams that die will be replaced at no additional cost to the buyer.

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