Frans Fontaine Hornbeams - Columnar Tree Hedge - September Check-In

How do our Frans Fontaine European Hornbeam Trees look this season?  Like this photo below- showing the green foliage covering the upright, columnar habit of these trees planted along the northside of our property as a screen between our house and our neighbor's property.  You can see part of the gable of our neighbor's house at the top of the photo below:

Hedge of Frans Fontaine European Hornbeam Trees - Columnar, upright Trees

One of the most comment questions that I get on the blog is from someone making a comment asking about these trees.  Things like:  How do they look now?  Any update?  How far are they spaced?  Someone (locally...who grew up in Naperville, but current lives in Barrington and is planning on putting up some Frans Fontaine Hornbeams in their yard) just posted a comment on this post - asking how they're doing.  

Last Summer I posted a detailed history of the trees - showing their growth and how they closed in the last remaining gaps between the trees. 

I have not pruned these at all - other than the random branch or two that were in the way of the newly (this summer) installed boardwalk that you can see in the photo above.  I've had Davey Tree Experts apply a deep-root fertilizer each Fall.  And watered them in (much more when they were getting established) a bit.

These were planted in 2018 as 2" caliper trees.  That means these have been in the ground for five growing seasons:  ('18-->'19, '19-->'20, '20-->'21, '21-->'22 and now '22 -->'23).    And, they've continued to exceed my expectations.

The last time that I posted about these trees was earlier this Spring when they were just leaf'ing out in April of 2023.  

The biggest 'gap' that I've been tracking over the years has continued to close.  Here's a link to this same gap a year ago.  And, here below, is a look at that section.  You can't see through the gap until you get close to the top of the trees.

Hedge of Frans Fontaine European Hornbeam Trees - Columnar, upright Trees

Looking back two seasons, here's what the same trees looked like in August of 2021 - it appears to my eye that they've put on quite a bit of 'girth' in those two years. 

One of the things on my 2024 to-do list is to replace the soaker hose underneath these as I'm seeing the last few trees not getting enough water from the current setup.    

Another point of reference is this post Summer of 2020 that shows the trees since they were installed as those 2" caliper trees.    That post shows this original - as planted photo (below):

2" caliper Hedge of Frans Fontaine European Hornbeam Trees - Columnar, upright Trees (below) is a 1-2-3 animated image showing as-planted (2018), 2 years later (2020) and current (2023) as they have filled in, grown up and spread out:

Hedge of Frans Fontaine European Hornbeams Trees - Columnar, upright Trees


  1. Wow! Looking at that photo of the baby trees is wild. Can barely see the fence anymore!

  2. Thank you for sharing your plantings! Your posts were a big part of us buying seven Frans Fontaine Hornbeams for a privacy hedge. We have a similar situation to you, and will be planting the trees along a fence line next week. Could you tell me how much space you have from your fence to the tree plantings? And are you happy with it, wish you had more/less space behind the trees ?

    1. Thanks for the update! I’m the one from Barrington. Happy to report we have 4 Frans Fontaine in the ground. Looking forward to seeing the progress on all.


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