Hornbeam (Ailanthus altissima) is one of the most popular and widely grown trees in the world. It’s easy to grow, it grows well in almost any climate, and it produces a large number of beautiful fruit. However, its popularity comes with some drawbacks; namely that it requires a lot of care and attention. A good quality hornbeam tree will produce a great quantity of flowers every year. That’s why they are so expensive!
The first thing you need to do when buying a new hornbeam tree is to make sure that it’s not diseased or infected. If you’re going to buy a healthy tree, then you’ll have no problem at all. But if your goal is just to get rid of the old ones, then there’s nothing worse than getting a sickly looking tree because it was never cared for properly.
If you’re not sure what kind of tree you want, then look at the picture above. You’ll see that there are two types of hornbeams: American and European. They both come from the same species, but their appearance varies greatly depending on where they were grown. These differences can be very noticeable even after cutting down a single branch off one of them.
There are many different varieties of hornbeam available today, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, the American hornbeam is the most common type of tree used to make hedges. It’s been bred to be very good at this; but it’s not the best choice if you want to admire its flowers. By contrast, the European hornbeam grows more flowers than you can shake a stick at; but it doesn’t grow into a very good hedge at all.
Some people like hornbeam trees because they have so many different uses. For example, you can plant them in your garden and allow them to grow naturally. If you’re lucky, they’ll spread out and turn into a wild type of hedge around the other flowers and plants in your garden. Alternatively, you can plant them in rows and keep them under control as part of a formal garden.
Before deciding on anything else, you’ll need to decide exactly what you want to do with your tree and then choose the right kind. One type isn’t necessarily better than the others; it’s all about your personal preferences.
After you’ve chosen your tree, you’ll need to plant it in exactly the right spot. You can use a bucket of compost or some other soil additive to help the plant grow healthy and strong. If you’re planting a sapling, then make a small hole in the ground first so you don’t damage its roots. After you’ve put the sapling in the ground, back-fill the hole with soil and gently pat it down to secure it in place. Water it well so the soil is nice and moist.
If you’re planting a seed, then you’ll need to prepare a pot of nutrient-rich soil. You’ll also need a small pot or tin can to grow the seed in, with holes in the bottom to let the water drain out. Plant the seed about a centimeter deep in the soil. Lightly water it and place the pot in a sunny spot where it won’t be disturbed. Keep it watered and watch as the seed slowly grows into a small plant.
Once it has grown big enough, it’s ready to be planted in the ground.
Once your tree is firmly planted in the ground, you need to take care of it for the first year. This means watering it regularly and giving it some fertilizer every now and then. It should grow at a fairly steady rate so long as you look after it properly, and after one growing season it’ll be ready to do everything on its own.
A hornbeam hedge takes a little bit of work to maintain, but they’re very good at keeping your surroundings private and secluded. Well, unless someone decides to wander through your hedge…
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10.2 Thorn Bush
A thorn bush is a wild plant that has grown in an area with very little sunlight. Therefore it has had to adapt in order to survive. The easiest way for it to survive in its environment is to grow spikes all over itself so that nothing can get close enough to pluck the berries or fruit that it produces.
The berries are perfectly safe to eat, and in fact they’re extremely nutritious. They’re also very good for you, which is why people often wander out into the wilderness in the first place; to get these rare fruits and bring them back to town to sell at a high price.
There are downsides however, and the main one is the spikes. Getting too close to the plant will rip your skin open and cause extreme pain as your blood seeps out. You’ll need bandages and ointment to avoid infection, not to mention a lot of pain.
The other issue is that there’s no easy way to grab the fruit without getting close to the plant, not even using a pole to knock them down. You can try climbing up a tree and picking them off, but if you’re not careful you might get yourself impaled.
It might be best to try luring an animal up to the plant. Most animals are easily scared by thorn bushes, so it shouldn’t take too much effort to drive one towards the bush. You might get a few scratches, but at least you’ll be able to get your food.
Another option is to cut the plant down. This is very difficult as the thorns are very tough and sharp. They’ll still be just as deadly on the ground as they were when they were attached to the plant, so you’ll need to be very careful.
Sources & references used in this article:
Production and phenology of the herb layer in an Oak-Hornbeam forest. by F Kubicek, J Brechtl – Biológia, Bratislava, 1970 – cabdirect.org
Formative arts and landscape application of european hornbeam by ZL Zhu, QM Lin, YY Xu – Advanced Materials Research, 2012 – Trans Tech Publ
Chloroplast DNA phylogeography of the hornbeam in Europe: evidence for a bottleneck at the outset of postglacial colonization by D Grivet, RJ Petit – Conservation Genetics, 2003 – Springer