OSTRYA VIRGINIANA – AMERICAN HOPHORNBEAM
Hop Hornbeam is a beautiful small tree suited for many landscapes but is rare in the nursery trade. It has a relatively shallow root system on most soils. Trees grow about anywhere except those that remain wet for extended periods. It is well adapted to city plantings such as along streets and in parking lots provided soil drainage is good. Often found in its native habitat on dry, rocky slopes with little soil, Hop Hornbeam is quite tolerant of drought. This tree will not be found in the swamps or river banks but Carpinus virginiana will. These two trees are often found as understory trees in the same forest.
Other than some early pruning to develop good structure, this tree needs little care once established. Locate it close to people so they can enjoy the wonderful bark and foliage. Good survival in ice storms. Keep trees healthy with regular fertilizer applications and water in extended drought to prevent two-lined chestnut borer damage. Trees are very tolerant of urban conditions and have survived and grow well along streets. Trees in one study in NY had trouble recovering from bare-root transplanting.
Wood is considered diffuse porous meaning that there is little difference in size of pores between spring and summer wood. Wood is notably durable having been used in mallets and handles. Extracts from the tree were used as a cough syrup.