location of hornbeam


HI I have a rectangular plot of land running between my landing and my neighbour’s house .

From the neighbour’s house to my landing is 54 inches.

is it ok to plant a hornbeam in an area 54 inches wide. vis a vis
roots. I have read that hornbeam roots will not cause a problem.

If it is a problem how far away from the neighbour’s houise should I be to plant the tree.

Don’t worry about length

pls email me your response. Thanks


I am not sure whether you are referring to one of the Carpinus betulus cultivars that are called hornbeam (e.g., pyramidal European hornbeam [Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’] or Frans Fontaine hornbeam [Carpinus betulus ‘Frans Fontaine’]) or to an ironwood tree (commonly called hop-hornbeam) (Ostrya virginiana) so I will address recommended planting distance from a house for both.

There is a previous Toronto Master Gardeners post on Pyramidal European Hornbeam. From there we learn that these trees are good for privacy hedging and that the recommended distance for spacing these hedges is between 3 and 13 feet apart (an average of 6 ft/72 inches/182 cm) to allow enough space for the roots. Roots may not be the only issue here though – both of the Carpinus betulus cultivars mentioned above can reach 40ft in height and 20ft in width (240 inches) at maturity. You may want to look up smaller cultivars of the Carpinus betulus like ‘Lucas’ or ‘Columnaris Nana’ that might be better suited for that space.

A general rule of thumb is , at minimum, to plant a tree the distance of half the spread of the tree away from the house. A tree that grows no more than 25 ft tall should be planted no more than 8-10 feet from the wall of a house.

The hop-hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) is a tree native to Canada. Recommended planting distance away from the house (as above) would apply in the same way for this tree. It grows up to 39 feet high so would need to be planted at minimum about 20 feet from each house so this tree is too big for the space.

Instead of a tree, I would recommend a shrub for this space that can grow tall enough to give the appearance of a tree. Toronto Master Gardeners has a great garden guide – Gardening with Native Shrubs – that gives a variety of options for sunny or shady spaces. You can see pictures of many of these shrubs (and others), as well as a description of how high they grow, in this post from In Our Nature.