Cutting hornbeam - When is the best time?

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Cutting hornbeam - When is the best time?: cutting

The hornbeam belongs as a robust and easy-care tree, which also the city climate can not harm, to the most popular hedge plants. It is ideal for a regular shape cut. As a straight cut, dense hedge, it forms the green border of a property, cut as geometric or fantasy figure, it is the eye-catcher in every garden.

When is the best time to cut a hornbeam?

Due to their strong growth, a hornbeam hedge should be cut twice a year.


At this time, before the new shootout, cut for the first time. The plants may now be trimmed vigorously. Old branches and protruding shoots are radically removed. Even cuts in the old wood can withstand the hornbeam without much damage. On the contrary, the cut stimulates the plant to form as many new shoots as possible. The early pruning is recommended, as already in March / April birds in the hornbeam hedge build their nesting sites.

June and August

If the hedge expels for the second time in May, it can be cut again in shape. From the 24th of June, the Johannistag, cut off all disturbing shoots. Over the summer, the hornbeam branches vigorously and forms an opaque hedge. If you like, you can grab the scissors again in August and correct the hedge's appearance. This will stay in shape during the winter, as no new shoots develop. The hornbeam hedge loses only a few leaves in autumn. Mostly they dry on the tree, but remain hanging. Thus, the hedge forms a good visual protection even in winter.

Cut of the young plant

Cut hornbeam

Freshly planted beech hedges are trimmed immediately in autumn. A so-called educational cut brings the plants into a first form. Unbranched and weak branches can be removed except for three eyes. This is where the new budding takes place in the spring. In order to ensure that the new hedge grows densely, up to six shape cuts can be made in the first few years.

Cut the old plant

If the hedge plants have developed well and reached the desired height, only a few cuts are required.
In the spring, before the first shoot is radically illuminated. The best time for the second cut is in the middle of the year, when the breeding season of the birds is over. In the fall should not be cut anymore.

Instructions for pruning

A young hedge has to develop. For that she needs some years. For this reason, the final shape of the hedge can initially be disregarded. After planting in autumn, all long side shoots are cut off and the branches growing up are cut in half. So the plant can drive out plenty in the spring.
When the final height of the hedge is reached, pruning is done only twice a year. In the spring, the dried branches are removed and the side shoots shortened, in summer you cut the height and width of the hedge, so correct the free growth to your liking.
Tip: The hedge must not grow without a cut to the desired height after planting. She would not branch sufficiently at the bottom and remain bald. Only by regular cutting, the plant branches from the trunk to the top and is beautifully sealed.

Instructions for a conical section profile

All areas of the hedge receive sufficient light when a conical section profile is maintained. This means that the beech trees are narrowed towards the top. It creates a kind of triangle. So the areas below get enough sun and grow thick. With a rectangular profile, the lower hedgerow area would be overshadowed by the upper, dense foliage and blued over the years.

When is a radical cut required?

A beech hedge that has not been cut for years loses its attractive appearance. The branches grow unchecked outwards and upwards. Since there is only a small sprouting, the hedge glares and looks light and unpleasant. In such a case only helps to cut down the trees radically and give them a new shape. Hornbeams can take a cut back to the old wood, they drive out again next spring easily.
Tip: Distribute the radical cut for at least two years. In the first year, the crown is trimmed and a flank conically cut, the next year you cut the second page. This is more tolerable for the plant and the hedge does not look so bald.

Cut hornbeam

The Federal Nature Conservation Act does not allow for the radical protection of breeding birds between the 1st of March and the 30th of September. Smaller care cuts are allowed.

When does the hedge need a conservation cut?

Every few years the hedge needs a conservation cut. This is usually required for old stocks every two to four years.The best time for this is August, because the trees are not working so hard anymore and therefore they do not lose too much juice. Old branches inside are cut off under a branch. Next spring, new small branches will drift out, the hedge will close again.
Tip: Do not let your hornbeam hedge grow too tall. Only then can you make the cut comfortably without having to use a ladder.
Did you know that you can cut hornbeams into all sorts of shapes? With a little skill you conjure up geometric figures, such as balls, cones, pyramids or cubes, to your taste. In a very high hedge can also be cut a convenient passage in arched form. Let your imagination run wild!

The right tool for hedge trimming

Hedges can be handled manually with a hedge trimmer, rose scissors and pruning shears or with an electric hedge trimmer. In both cases, it is important that the equipment used is sharp and clean. Blunt knives tatter the trees, branches crack open and provide a welcome breeding ground for diseases. Even a dirty hedge trimmer transmits diseases.
In the case of hornbeam with its relatively large leaves, however, it is advisable to dispense with the use of electric scissors as possible. The fast movement of the cutting blades shreds the delicate beech leaves and tears the small branches. For a long time, the hedge will look ugly, because the interfaces dry up and become brown. The cutting work also depends on the physical condition of the gardener. A short hedge is quickly cut by hand, but from a certain length should be electrically worked, only to spare the physical forces.
Tip: Thoroughly clean your cutters with water after work. If diseased branches have been removed, cleaning with alcohol or pure alcohol (from the pharmacy) is required to prevent disease transmission.
Do not dispose of sick parts of plants on the compost, the pathogens can spread further. Dispose of infected clippings in trash or burn.

Use clippings

Clippings from hornbeam can be chopped on paths or sprinkled on beds as mulch. Small branches and leaves are suitable for compost. Larger branches can be dried and burned in the stove.

Differences Hornbeam and Greater Hornbeam

The hornbeam remains narrow in its growth and resembles a pyramid. It is suitable for single planting or as a tree. As it grows very slowly, it normally does not need a care cut. If it bifurcates too much or if it becomes too high, it can also be cut short.

Cut hornbeam

The care measure should not take place in the fall. The best time to cut a hornbeam is a dull morning in early spring. The day must be frost-free (fresh interfaces would freeze at minus temperatures) and dry, the thermometer should not display less than 5 degrees Celsius. Also too much sunshine should be avoided, as the interfaces dry out quickly.
Important: After the cut, the tree needs water.
After the care measure in the spring, you only cut the Greater Hornbeam when absolutely necessary. Of course dead wood should always be removed. By the end of August at the latest, all cutting measures will be discontinued. The hornbeam now needs rest, in order to be able to drive out vigorously again the following year.
Like the hornbeam hedge, the hornbeam can be cut into various shapes. A conical shape that makes the tree look like a fir, makes beech an eye-catcher in your garden.

Possible mistakes when editing

  • Never put hedge "on the stick", that is, cut the hedge down to the bottom. They would destroy the whole organism, only after years, if at all, would the hedge recover.

  • Never cut hedge one-sidedly, always maintain both sides. So you get the appealing exterior of the hedge.

  • Do not limit care to the outer branches only. The conical hedge form would suffer and the saplings from the inside bevelled.

  • Never cut back to the third eye, the new shoot would be prevented.

  • Do not leave clippings on top of the hedge, it would shade the lower areas and prevent further shoots.

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