Fire King™ American Hornbeam

Carpinus caroliniana 'J.N. Select A'

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Fire King American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana 'J.N. Select A') at Tree Top Nursery & Landscaping

Fire King™ American Hornbeam

Fire King™ American Hornbeam

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Fire King American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana 'J.N. Select A') at Tree Top Nursery & Landscaping

Fire King™ American Hornbeam foliage

Fire King™ American Hornbeam foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  20 feet

Spread:  20 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  3b

Other Names:  Blue Beech, Ironwood, Musclewood, Water Beech

Brand:  Johnson's Nursery


An impressive upright form of this native tree that becomes more rounded with age; interesting gray bark is almost muscular in appearance; excellent orange-red fall color and curious hop-like fruit; a great shade tree for smaller areas

Ornamental Features

Fire King™ American Hornbeam has forest green deciduous foliage on a tree with an oval habit of growth. The serrated pointy leaves turn outstanding shades of orange and in the fall. It produces small clusters of brick red hop-like fruit from early fall to late winter, which fade to brown over time. The smooth silvery blue bark adds an interesting dimension to the landscape.

Landscape Attributes

Fire King™ American Hornbeam is a deciduous tree with a shapely oval form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Fire King™ American Hornbeam is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Shade
  • Hedges/Screening
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens

Planting & Growing

Fire King™ American Hornbeam will grow to be about 20 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 3 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 80 years or more.

This tree performs well in both full sun and full shade. It is an amazingly adaptable plant, tolerating both dry conditions and even some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selection of a native North American species.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Shade  Screening  Naturalizing 
Fruit  Fall Color  Bark  Winter Value 
Ornamental Features