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American hornbeam, also called blue beech, musclewood, water beech, and ironwood, is a small to medium tree. In its youth, and even sometimes at maturity, this species tends be multi-trunked and densely branched. It also tends to develop major branches near ground level which can be a desirable or undesirable characteristic depending on how this species is intended to be used in the landscape. Unpruned trees have a more “natural” appearance (less symmetrical, more dense, less kempt). In contrast, pruned trees have a more symmetrical, less dense, and kempt appearance. In native haunts, American hornbeam is found near streams or other wet areas, thus it can tolerate moist soils; it is moderately drought tolerant.
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October 4, 2018