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Native to south and south-eastern England and to much of central and eastern Europe.
No provenance trials have been undertaken in Britain so seed sources from good British stands or from the near continent should be preferred.
This is a comparatively slow growing and shade tolerant species which is very cold hardy and frost resistant. It is not tolerant of exposure and is adapted to more continental climates of eastern and lowland Britain. Best growth is on soils of fresh to moist moisture status and of poor to rich nutrient status; it will grow on alkaline soils provided these are neither too shallow or too dry. It does not tolerate peaty soils or those of very poor nutrient status.
May occasionally suffer dieback as result of root infection by Phytophthora, and it is vulnerable to squirrel damage.
This is a species which may increase its range in eastern Britain with climate warming but is likely to be confined to lowland zones. It may be useful as a component of mixed broadleaved stands where it is used to shade out branches and develop clean boles on quality stems.
Hornbeam is categorised as a Principal tree species. These are species which are currently widely used for forestry and will continue to be a dominant unless affected by a new pest or disease or adversely affected by climate change.
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