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Ironwood

Ostrya virginiana

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Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana) at Gertens

Ironwood

Ironwood

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana) at Gertens

Ironwood bark

Ironwood bark

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana) at Gertens

Ironwood flowers

Ironwood flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  20 feet

Spread:  15 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  3a

Other Names:  American Hophornbeam

Brand:  Gertens

Description:

An underused small native woodland tree with exceptionally strong wood; tolerates shade very well; interesting hop-like seeds in late summer, layered habit of growth, flaking bark; very low maintenance, but somewhat slow growing

Ornamental Features

Ironwood has dark green deciduous foliage on a tree with an oval habit of growth. The serrated pointy leaves turn lemon yellow in fall. It produces small clusters of tan hop-like fruit from late summer to mid fall.

Landscape Attributes

Ironwood is an open deciduous tree with a shapely oval form. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other landscape plants with less refined foliage.

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.

Ironwood is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Shade

Planting & Growing

Ironwood will grow to be about 20 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 15 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 4 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 70 years or more.

This tree does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under average home landscape conditions. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is quite intolerant of urban pollution, therefore inner city or urban streetside plantings are best avoided, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is native to parts of North America.

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Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Shade 
Applications
Fruit 
Ornamental Features