A common conundrum for gardeners to be stuck in is whether to choose hornbeam or beech hedges to create privacy and add beauty to their garden. Both hornbeam and beech are popular choices in the UK, with much of the decision coming down to personal preference, or which will grow better for your situation. Here are some of the factors you’ll need to consider, to help make the decision that bit easier.
Which do you prefer the look of?
Since you’re the one who’s going to be looking at the hedge for the next few years, it makes sense to choose the one you prefer the look of, and that will fit in best with the rest of your garden. Both hornbeam and beech are semi-evergreen, meaning they retain their dead leaves throughout the winter. This gives the benefits of attractive foliage all year round and privacy for you.
In terms of leaves, beech trees are often considered more beautiful due to their smoother, glossier look, whilst hornbeam leaves appear matte and pleated – but really, it’s down to personal taste.
Hornbeam is sturdier and can withstand more challenges
Of the two plants, hornbeam will thrive better in more difficult growing conditions, such as overly wet or dry soil – so if you know growing conditions aren’t perfect then you’d be better off opting for the easier of the two.
Hornbeam is also less susceptible to pests and insects, such as woolly beech aphid, which can be a minor issue for beech hedges.
If time is of the essence – which plant will grow faster?
This depends on a variety of factors, such as the conditions your hedge is growing in. If it’s a sunny environment and protected from the elements, then beech will typically grow at a faster rate once it’s established, which can take two seasons. However, if it’s cold, in a shaded area or exposed to a lot of wind and rain, then hornbeam will grow faster.
Hornbeam is the cheaper choice
As for the price of these two hedges, hornbeam is the slightly cheaper option – so if you need a lot of hedging on a budget then this may be your best choice. However, if you’re not hugely limited by price then you’d be better off considering the above factors and going with your personal aesthetic preference.