Hainbuchen: How to make the cut

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The hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) has been playing an important role in garden culture for centuries. Early on, their qualities were recognized as a form cutting plant - not only for hedges, but also for cut porches or more complex figures. Incidentally, although the name hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) suggests a relationship with the European beech (Fagus sylvatica), the tree botanically counts among the birch trees.

The cutting of the hornbeams also hardly poses any problems to beginners, as long as it is a simple shape cut with the hedge trimmer. Here it is only necessary to make the right time.

Since hornbeams grow very strongly, it is best to cut hedges and other topiary trees twice a year. An important cut is the St. John's Day (June 24), although the cut can be made one or two weeks earlier or later. The second cut is based on personal taste: Anyone who likes to take care of it will cut hornbeam hedges again in mid-August - after that, the plants will only faintly drive out again. They look very well-cared for the winter and keep a large part of the dried leaves until spring, because the late new shoots do not ripen until the frost. However, the best time for the second - or first - form cut is the late February because the plants do not lose so much leaf mass and have their full assimilation performance until the end of the season.

Hornbeam hedges: this is how the shape cut succeeds

New gardeners are often unsure if they need to get their hedge in shape - they do not know how much they can cut off. Here you can not do much wrong with hornbeam, because the robust deciduous shrubs drive well from the perennial shoots again. Basically, you should always cut so much that the hedge is trimmed back to the old height and width. If the hedge is to get even bigger, you can stand by the outstanding new shoots respectively the base. Newly planted hedges often make the mistake of growing them to the desired height without a single cut. However, it is important that you cut your hedge from the beginning every year - only then it branches out well from the beginning and will be nice and tight.

Divide hornbeam hedge

Longer hornbeam hedges are usually cut with an electric hedge trimmer

Also important is a slightly conical section profile - that is, the hedge should be wider in cross-section below than above. So all areas are optimally exposed. If the plants are cut into a strict rectangular profile with vertical flanks, the lower shoots often corrode over the years. They do not get enough light, because they are too much shaded by the higher, more-growing games.

Electric or manual: The right hedge trimmer

Large-leaved hedge plants, which include the hornbeam, should ideally be brought into shape with a manual hedge trimmer. Their blades cut off the leaves cleanly, while many of the opposing blades of the motorized hedge trimmers are often literally shredded. The frayed interfaces dry up, turn brown and disturb the appearance of the hornbeam hedge for a long time. In the end, however, it is above all a matter of condition: a ten-meter-long hedge can still be easily cut by hand into shape. At a hundred meters long, however, almost every hobby gardener will prefer an electrical device.

Renovate old hornbeam hedges

If a hedge has not been cut for years, only a radical cutback will help to get it back in shape. In contrast to the tree of life and the cypress, which do not drive out of the older wood, this is easily possible with hornbeam. Distribute the pruning best over a period of two years - so the hedge remains tight despite renovation.

rejuvenation pruning

If the hornbeam hedge is out of shape, a strong taper cut will help. In the first year cut only one flank stronger (left), in the second then the other one (right)

In the first spring, cut the hedge crown back to the desired height and cut all branches and twigs of a flank to a length of 10 to 15 centimeters. For this you usually need a solid pruning shears or a tree saw. The branches will be strong again until the summer and the new shoots will then be shortened as usual to the hedge-cutting date in June with the hedge trimmer. The same thing will happen next spring with the second hedge flank and in the coming summer the hedge will almost look like new again.

Cutting free growing hornbeams?

Hornbeams do not necessarily have to be planted as hedges or form. They also develop as a free-growing woody plants to beautiful trees. The wild species is suitable only for larger gardens, as their crown can become very expansive in old age.

Common hornbeam as garden bonsai

Hornbeams can also be grown as mold trees - here as garden bonsai

As house trees, therefore, preferably grafted varieties are planted with a narrower cone or columnar shape, for example, 'Columnaris' or 'Fastigata'. No matter which one you choose: they all work without a regular cut. However, you can always correct the crowns or lock the trunk if you want to create a seat or a bed under it, for example.

Video Board: Gärtner ab durch die Hecke. Just for fun :-D.

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