Korean Hornbeam

I have a KH and all of the tips of branches have buds, but very few buds on the interior.
How do I get more back budding?

Jimmy Stimmel

Welcome to the site!

You may wish to post a picture as advice may depend on the health of the tree. Type of soil and pot? Size? Age?

Fertiliser once in leaf and let it grow, don’t prune as this will not encourage backbudding.

The process for Korean Hornbeam is quite simple. Prune back to the first pair of leaves on new shoots to force back budding with the best times for minor pruning being early spring and after flowering. Major developmental pruning should be done in late winter, before bud burst. Fertilizer will benefit the overall health of the tree and improve the response. but should be after the leaves have formed to prevent excessive growth and lengthy internodes. Korean Hornbeam has a tendency to die back, losing branches if not pruned carefully within the right time frames. I tend to leave longer stubs initially ( 1/2 inch) and seal each cut, Then return a month or two later to trim the dead stub and seal the final cut. Cutting too short the initial time may cause further dieback along the branch.


Thank you for your assistance. I’ll try and send a picture. I have been growing the KH for a few years, and I’m not getting the responses I want. Have been fertilizing, in good sun with good drainage and soil.
I could sum it up, it’s giving me fits.

It seems to have buds on the tips of the branches.

It would be helpful to have some additional information. The climate/ location for reference of suitability? Your pattern of watering and fertilization? What type of fertilizer and how often?The components and percentage of the soil mix? Is the root ball free of old soil or surrounded by bonsai mix?
When was the last repot and what did you observe at that time?
Has the tree been treated for any insect or disease issues in the recent past?

Frank’s breakdown of the process is right on. The first thing I’d do is decide whether or not you want to additionally thicken the trunk. If so, the branches can wait.

If you want to start styling the tree now, I’d determine how tall it will be and cut back severely about a year from now (just before the tree opens).

I like the movement best on the lowest part of the trunk - have you thought about how tall to make the tree?

The tree is located in Lawrenceville, Ga, about 25 miles NE of Atlanta. Zone 7. It received direct sun from 9 am to 2pm. Was fertilized with Bio Gold original and once a month foliar feeding with fish emulsion. The soil was made up of 40% akadama, 30% red lava, and 30% pumice. I watered by hand when the top 1/2 inch was dry. In the hot summer, it was shaded from the afternoon sun. The tree has been bare rooted when transplanting every 2 years.
The tree was transplanted this past Spring when the buds began to swell. The root ball had lots for fine white roots that were trimmed around the sides and the bottom roots were shortened. I have a different residence this year, 3 miles from the last residence, but the entire back yard is shaded with huge oak trees, so its more like an understory tree.It has had no insect problems in the past up to the present.
it has been growing freely since it opened this Spring, and this is the first year in many years, that we were able to enjoy Spring Weather!
Sorry it took so long to respond and I will be looking forward to your response.

How about a picture to see the tree in its current condition? I would assume that you intend to let the tree recover for this growing season, is that correct?

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Updated picture May 24, 2020

Allowing the tree to recover.

Now that I see the leaves, it appears more like a European hornbeam.
Carpinus Betula. The leaf structure is deeply veined and completely green. Also the leaf size seems larger. Is it possible?

Looks like J. Hornbeam.

That is also a possibility. The bark showing on the trunk in the first picture also does not appear to match the Korean Hornbeam that I have growing in my nursery.
Pictures can be funny though.

Wow, the tree is looking great! It looks healthy enough for some cutback. If the interior branches don’t get light in summer, they can die within a matter of weeks on hornbeam or other species. I’ve been thinning mine this week to make sure the inside shoots keep getting light.

Now is a good time of year for cutback. If you want a branch to thicken, you can let it run, otherwise you can cut back to the desired silhouette and internode length. Let us know if you have questions about that!

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