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Pleached Hornbeam Tree advice


I’m having concerns with my Hornbeam trees which I planted in September.

I know its autumn and the leaves may be at stage where they are browning off but over the last four weeks, the leaves and branches have started to look as if they’re actually dying.

I’ve attached some recent photographs of the trees via the below Dropbox link- 

This is my first garden project so it’s all new to me, and I haven’t really got a clue what to do. I’ve asked two gardeners who don’t seem sure themselves. If any of you can give me some advice, tips or recommendations then I’d really appreciate it!!

For your information, each tree has a water irrigation sprinkler near their trunk, which activates every 12 hours for a period of 5-minutes. 

Last edited: 30 October 2017 21:07:00


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,924

    I'd say five minutes every twelve hours is nowhere near enough water for something that size that's just been planted for such a short while.

    Even without the other planting round their feet, which is competition for moisture,  they should be getting a couple of bucketfuls at the base of each tree every other day until autumn has properly arrived, even if you live somewhere which gets regular rainfall. 

    They're also in raised beds which drain more rapidly. Is there a decent medium for them to grow in? 

    Have you checked round the base of them to see what the soil feels like? It should be moist. Hornbeam also likes damper conditions than many other hedging plants. 

    Last edited: 30 October 2017 21:30:49

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,025

    Hi Ollie image  I think you should turn the irrigation off ... they don't need it at this time of year.    

    Last edited: 30 October 2017 21:42:49

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,025

    Fairy image  I see what you say ... The ground here in Norfolk is absolutely sodden well below the surface. 

    I wouldn't be giving shrubs and trees much if any water at the moment after a good initial soaking at planting time. 

    I suppose it depends what the soil is like below the surface in Ollies garden. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    I've had a look at the photos, and I must admit, they don't look like they're dying. There may be issue that the shrubs are contorted so tightly on the bamboo canes. There is more chance of rotting on some stems due to this. But because they are so young, and leaves are sparse, any leaf that curls or starts to shrivel will look like death for the shrub. 

    The base of these shrubs should have a nice thick layer of bark chip mulch. The irrigation system setting is far too close. Your current setting will encourage roots to not go downwards, but possibly stay shallow, and this is harmful for the shrub longterm. Water longer but over longer gaps like 3-4 days rather than 12 hours. The watering needs to slow down now that temperatures are not regularly higher than 18 degrees.

  • I had 12 Pleached hornbeem trees in December,I have been very woried about them they have looked like they are dead, but yesterday I had good look at them and whilst there are some brown leaves still on them some have fallen off, I noticed the trees do have small buds on them, when do they usualy open.
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    If possible, please post a photo of your shrubs. Hornbeam can look horrible at this time of year, but if you are seeing new life forming, it is probably fine. You do need to concentrate on watering now, it’s very warm. 
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