Fagus vs Carpinus: How to choose between the two

by | May 17, 2024 | News | 0 comments

Fagus vs Carpinus. These two deciduous hedging plants can look very similar to each other but they are different in many ways. Even in our nursery they can be confused, opposite our office we have one of each type and people regularly think that they are the same hedge. 


Fagus vs Carpinus: So how do they differ?

Fagus sylvatica (Green Beech)

Fagus vs Carpinus Green Beech leaves

A British native tree that can be found across nearly all of the United Kingdom. As a tree it can reach 30-50m in height and up to 30 metres in diameter. As a hedging plant it makes a good dense hedge, with lots of beautiful soft green leaves, with a gentle gloss, in the spring, that are followed by glorious copper leaves in the autumn and into the winter. These leaves are held on the plant until the new leaves push them off making this a deciduous plant that does give a good degree of cover during the winter.

Suitable for growing in almost all conditions, the main environment the hedge doesn’t really like, are waterlogged or heavy clay soils.

When trimmed regularly Green Beech has a fine finish and will enhance any planting scheme excellently.

Fagus vs Carpinus Greenbeech

Carpinus betulus (Hornbeam)

Traditionally found in the south and east of the country where it once formed vast forests that were coppiced for firewood, the hornbeam is a good all round plant. Easily mistaken for the Fagus it can be identified by the deeper veins in the leaves and the slightly duller finish. In the spring the plants really shine with vibrant pale green leaves.

Fagus vs Carpinus Hornbeam leaves

When grown as a tree it can reach 30 metres in height and is a magnificent sight, although it looks just as brilliant as a hedge. Like the Fagus, the Carpinus can hold some of its leaves which are a grey/brown colour but unlike the Fagus, if it is an exposed site these leaves can be stripped from the branches during the winter.

Best grown in the southern areas of Britain, Carpinus can grow in all soil types and can even sit in wet soil while dormant during the winter.

Fagus vs Carpinus

So how do you choose?

So Fagus vs Carpinus. It is hard to decide on which of these hedges is the best and it will come down to personal choice 9 times out of 10. Looking at what we grow on the nursery in both Readybags and Troughs, we grow the same amount of each and depending on the year one always goes faster than the other. At the end of the day whichever one is planted, they will both perform brilliantly and give an amazing hedge for many years to come.

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