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?