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Frans Fontaine' Hornbeam offers a slow to moderate growth rate, a narrow columnar form that does not broaden with age, as well as dark-green summer foliage turning yellow in late fall.

Tree of the Month: ‘Frans Fontaine’ Hornbeam

 By Len Phillips, ASLA Emeritus

Trade Name: ‘Frans Fontaine’ Hornbeam
Botanical Name: Carpinus betulus ‘Frans Fontaine’
Parentage: Carpinus betulus cultivar
Year of Introduction: 1995
Family: Betulaceae
Height: 30 to 35 feet
Spread: 15 feet
Form: Narrow columnar form does not broaden with age
Bloom Period: April
Flower: Unattractive small catkins
Fruit: 1/4-inch long, mature in early fall
Summer Foliage: Dark green in summer
Autumn Foliage: Yellow in late fall
Winter Color: Bark provides winter interest
Bark: Dark gray
Habitat: Originally grown in Europe and Asia Minor
Culture: Adapts to most soils, prefers well drained and full sun
Hardiness Zone*: 5 – 9
Growth Rate: Slow to moderate
Pest Resistance: None serious except loved by beavers for eating
Storm Resistance: Extremely hard wood, heavy and tough
Salt Resistance: Excellent
Planting: B&B in spring
Pruning: Seldom required, but will tolerate heavy pruning for hedge use
Propagating: Cuttings made in July or grafted to C. betulus seedlings
Design Uses: Excellent for screens, hedges, formal landscapes, medium texture
Companions: Will tolerate shade from larger companions
Other Comments: Tough, adaptable, good urban tree, good for screening and narrow sites, average appearance in New England, preferred over species
Available From: Most large nurseries

* For information about the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, visit www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/index.html


Len Phillips can be reached via e-mail at lenphillips@on-line-seminars.com

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