Summer care for Korean hornbeam typically consists of minor cutback, defoliating and/or leaf pruning. As I completely defoliated the tree last summer – something I don’t necessarily recommend: see Defoliating a Korean Hornbeam for details – and repotted the tree in winter, I’m taking it a bit easy this year. I reduced long shoots to between 3 and 5 leaves and halved the larger leaves.
Korean hornbeam – May 2013
After reducing the long shoots
Because the tree was still full after cutback, I tried reducing the size of the larger leaves to let more light into the tree’s interior.
Hornbeam leaf folded along the center vein
After making the cut
The cut leaf
As you can see below, leaf pruning makes a noticeable, but not dramatic, effect.
Branch before leaf pruning
After leaf pruning
Leaf pruning complete
The tree is still a bit on the full side but that will do for this year. If the tree’s strong enough next year, I’ll defoliate the exterior branches as this is the best way to strengthen the tree’s interior.