American Hophornbeam, or Ostrya virginiana, is a small to medium-sized native shade tree with flaking bark that blends perfectly with the medium-green foliage. Fall color is yellow. Bark and structure make a nice addition to the winter landscape.
Although a tough tree that will tolerate clay soil and drought well, American Hophornbeam may become tired and untidy-looking in late summer if growing conditions are difficult. This tree will blend nicely with most plants, and while not sensational in any season, is always comfortably pleasing.
Hophornbeam grows to about 25'-40' with a spread of 20'-30' and can be used either as a specimen tree in the front lawn or as an accent plant at the corner of your house. It also makes a great understory tree in a naturalized situation. American Hophornbeam is also sometimes referred to as ironwood due to its extremely hard, dense wood.
Hophornbeam is often used as a substitute for American Hornbeam, as Hophornbeam tolerates drought conditions better. Hophornbeam, however, does not tolerate wet soils. The habit of Hophornbeam is more open than the American Hornbeam and is superior in summer. American Hornbeam's fall color, however, is more impressive.
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