Stewardship Species Hornbeam Farm Stewardship Hedging
Many of the species used in Stewardship Hedgerows are deciduous and so through the winter months are devoid of foliage. Hornbeam or Carpinus Betulus is a leaf retaining shrub or tree like Green Beech and so is ideal to use within a Stewardship mix to give a little extra protection for wildlife through the winter months.
It differs from Green Beech in the leaf style as the foliage has a more serrated edge and the leaf veins are more prominent and Hornbeam will tolerate more adverse conditions such as wet or shaded ground, and requires pruning in late summer or early autumn to promote leaf retention which in turn provides shelter and nesting sites for birds and small animals.
A hard wood, the hardest we grow in this country, hence the name ironwood, it is a good choice to include in a Stewardship mix even for stock proofing as it is so robust, also some farmers will use it for coppicing to provide hardwood poles and it also burns well and is good for charcoal making.
In the days before cast iron Hornbeam was used for cog wheels in mills, piano keys, and butchers blocks and anything that required an exceptionally hard-wearing surface and in days gone by apparently a tonic was made from Hornbeam which was said to relieve tiredness and the leaves used to stem bleeding and heal wounds. In springtime the leaves of Hornbeam emerge as the freshest of green colours to lift ones spirits in the early part of the year, turning in late summer to a clear buttery yellow colour before fading to its winter brown colour.