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Carpinus Betulus Frans Fontaine, or Hornbeam Frans Fontaine, is an excellent landscape tree which can be used in gardens large or small due to its narrow, upright habit. Its elegant columnar shape makes it perfect for formal settings. Similar to the cultivar Carpinus Betulus Fastigiata but it retains more of its columnar (upright, narrow) form as it ages. It was selected from a street in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
Carpinus Betulus is a native tree species in the UK, but grows to a large size, making it impractical for inclusion in smaller spaces. However, Carpinus Betulus Frans Fontaine, from the Netherlands in 1983, has come to be prized by UK gardeners for its narrow shape and smaller mature size. It has glossy, pointed leaves which are a rich green in spring and summer, turning to a clear gold in autumn. Even in winter, the bare branches of its symmetrical, dense crown will add visual interest.
Hardy in most regions of the UK, Carpinus Betulus Frans Fontaine will grow to 7 metres high and just 1.8 metres wide in 10 years, reaching a mature height of 15 metres and spread of 6 metres. Little or no pruning is required to maintain the attractive narrow oval crown, but if desired for shaping or size, prune in late winter. Space Carpinus Betulus Frans Fontaine between 2 metres apart for a dense screen, or up to 10 metres apart when planting in a row or grouping.
Plant Carpinus Betulus Frans Fontaine in full sun, partial shade, or shade, in any moist but well-drained soil. It will tolerate a wetter soil, and will also withstand periods of drought once it is established. Hornbeam Frans Fontaine has no salt tolerance, so should not be used where there is exposure to sea winds. However, because it has a high tolerance for pollution, it is ideal for use in city gardens, and it is resistant to deer, so can be used on country properties without protection. It can be planted in pavement with great success.
The elegant, narrow shape of Carpinus Betulus Frans Fontaine makes it an ideal candidate for lining an avenue or walkway. A row of Hornbeam Frans Fontaine trees can also be planted along a fence or wall, creating an excellent privacy screen, and can be pruned to shape. A single specimen can be used as a focal point in a small lawn.
With its elegant columnar shape, Carpinus Betulus Frans Fontaine is an excellent tree whether used a single specimen in a small space, or in a multiple planting.