Korean Hornbeam help in Zone 8b

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Korean Hornbeam help in Zone 8b

Post  D-Ho on Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:12 pm

I guess posting Zone 8b may already doom me for Korean Hornbeam but I want to darn well try and grow one.  I've had one for almost two years now and I started growing it out in my raised bed garden.  The first time I had it leaf out (bought it still dormant) the leaves were nice and big.  That summer the edges of the leaves browned/ burned, which I expected, since Texas has such intense sun/ heat.  I had some growth out of it that first year but not much, and I know its a relatively slow grower.

When late winter came around I decided to move it to a pot with with a mix of Turface and small bark chips.  The reason I moved it to a pot is because: 1) even though my raised bed has compost in it Central Texas soil is CRAPPPPPP and largely composed of clay and very alkaline so I was working toward giving it better drainage.  2) I could control sun exposure, watering, fertilizing, etc hopefully better.  This spring the buds took a very long time taking from late spring into summer seasons to finally leaf out.  Our summers seem to start hardcore around May and are in fifth gear by June.

As of now the leaves that initially leafed out are pretty much still the only ones I see with almost no new leaf production beyond those.  Very low down on the tree I've noticed some leaf scorching again but most of the leaves are not scorched.  The root system could have looked better when I potted it this spring.  The trunk caliper is slightly over 1/2" and the height is over 3', so it is a whip.

What are the secrets to Korean Hornbeam other than don't grow them here?  Is it possible these need a much colder/ longer winter?  Sadly, I would consider finding a spot in my garden with partial shade like winning the lottery.  Do Korean Hornbeams really like shade over sun or do they just not like Texas type sun?  Anyone find the best soil pH or composition for these in a hot/ humid/ sunny climate?  Do they like to stay moist or dry?

I'm looking to grow this one out to be fat and big but so far I may be wishing for the impossible in my location.  Trident maples on the other hand fortunately grow like weeds in the ground as well as Crape Myrtle and Prunus Mume.

D-Ho
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Re: Korean Hornbeam help in Zone 8b

Post  Todd Ellis on Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:25 pm

I can't help but wonder if your screen name was created so people could say...

Hi D-Ho:D 

So, I can related to your determination about wanting a K. Hornbeam. I also think you are getting/experiencing your answer. It sounds like Tridents, Crape Myrtles and Ume's are working for you. Ilex vomitoria (sp?), Podocarpus, Bougies, Golden Larch, etc, should work well for you as well.

Todd Ellis
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Re: Korean Hornbeam help in Zone 8b

Post  D-Ho on Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:41 pm

Todd, thanks for the reply.  I did not think of that (Hi-dee-ho) but that does sound funny. My screen name is my actual nickname in grad school.  My group has two Dustins so I go by D-Ho, to combine my last name in.

Ilex vomitoria are used in almost every general landscape here and some are pretty fat.  I'm trying out some Japanese Larch seedlings, which have been holding up so far.  I love the Korean Hornbeam trunk growth and I'm determined.  Chinese Quince is another challenge I'm going with, again for trunk.  Luckily Trident Maple and Crape Myrtle have nice trunks so I have some hopefuls.  I has seen articles mentioning Korean Hornbeam in zone 8b, for example: link from Bonsai-BCI

I feel I just don't have the right groove with this hornbeam yet.

D-Ho
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Re: Korean Hornbeam help in Zone 8b

Post  Jkd2572 on Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:54 pm

I have had a very nice specimen since 2010. I have learned to treat them like Japanese maples. In our climate keep them out of the sun. As soon as temps reach about 86 I keep them mine in shade. They can not take how strong our sun is.

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Re: Korean Hornbeam help in Zone 8b

Post  marcus watts on Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:20 am

hi,
this certainly is another case of the global climate zone numbers being of no use what so ever in bonsai culture. By the book i am zone 9b but as it relates only to winter averages and makes no allowance for summer highs or UV intensity it doesn't help at all with species selection. The korean hornbeams do great here - a really fast growing species with 7-10 new leaf extension growth in most areas, responding to defoliation etc (leaving last leaf in place) so the mild winter isn't weakening the trees - it will be your summer highs as there is no way Cornwall UK has the UV intensity or dry winds of Texas. I would instantly build a shade net area with side and overhead netting to protect from the strongest sun and a mist system under it would be an added bonus in time. initially to create humidity surrounding the trees i'd have a large plastic tray covering the base of the shaded area filled with gravel and kept topped up with water - just like keeping an indoor bonsai. i think you would then find hornbeams, acers, beeches etc easier to work with.

to fatten up young trees they must be in the ground really so build the growing bed and fill it with proper soil, then build the shade net protector over / around it in the same way. in the ground you can then mulch the area to keep in moisture - this will keep the roots shorter Wink Wink 

good luck

Marcus

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Re: Korean Hornbeam help in Zone 8b

Post  JimLewis on Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:16 am

ALL hornbeams are understory trees, so if you have no shady spots in your yard, you'll have trouble in TX.  One of my oldest trees, a Korean hornbeam (gotten in 1986) grew in Tallahassee, FL (zone 8B) for years before moving up here to Zone 7 (where it is even happier).

You don't say what part of TX you are in, so I can't say for sure that low humidity may be an issue also, but understory trees are used to the higher humidity of the woodland.  

I suggest a deeper-than-aesthetically ideal pot with 30-40% Turface and the rest composted pine bark or something similar.  Maybe you can build a shade arbor in your yard somewhere to put this one and the Japanese maples under.  

Here's a shot of my hornbeam.  In Tallahassee it was in a pot of about the same diameter but at least twice as deep.  Pardon all the moss.  It has been one of those springs.  We have already exceeded our annual average rainfall.  Moss is EVERYwhere.



The tree is about due for a total reworking, as the branches up top are getting a bit thick.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Korean Hornbeam help in Zone 8b

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:50 am



I've had one for a couple of years that I got stuck with at our auction. It's in dappled shade and growing like a weed. I'm 8b too, but probably more humid and not as hot as you. I think yours will be fine once it settles in, but like everyone else I think that more shade than sun is key to its happiness.

Russell Coker
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Korean Hornbeam

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:32 pm

From my limited experience: Yes, Korean hornbeam is temperamental. It is indeed susceptible to sun scorch, especially in the spring. You need to get it out of winter storage early, so the leaves can harden off outside. I recommend Dyna-Gro Pro-TeKt, potassium silicate. It seems to help. This tree does not have strong roots. It sometimes leafs out very slowly.
My two cents.
Iris

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Re: Korean Hornbeam help in Zone 8b

Post  D-Ho on Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:14 am

Marcus you hit some good points about zone variability.  I'm in Austin, TX.  Late June I put this together to help shade my raised bed grow out site:



Here is a link to my site describing the materials I used:

http://dhobonsai.com/2013/07/01/adding-shade-to-bonsai-garden/

Iris, I was born and grew up in Binghamton, NY. Any chance you know of the place? Most of my family still lives there.

D-Ho
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Korean Hornbeam

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:49 pm

Binghamton is just down I81 a piece. There is a small but active bonsai club there.
Iris

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Re: Korean Hornbeam help in Zone 8b

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