Which is better: a beech hedge or a hornbeam hedge?

Which is better: a beech hedge or a hornbeam hedge?

European beech hedges are more picky about their location

European beeches are more picky than hornbeams when it comes to location. The hornbeam is also not a beech, but belongs to the birch trees.

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European beech hedges prefer one:

  • sunny or partially shaded place
  • slightly moist location without waterlogging
  • not too much draft

while a hornbeam hedge can also cope with shady layers.

A hornbeam hedge can withstand short periods of drought because it has much deeper roots. It can even be planted on slopes.

The distance between plants and houses and sidewalks

An important criterion is the planting distance between the hedge and walls, houses or sidewalks. European beeches are shallow roots that develop very strong roots. They can damage the masonry or raise paving slabs. In no case should they be planted near utility lines because they will blow up the pipes.

You can place a hornbeam hedge close to walls or streets. The root of the heart penetrates deep into the earth and therefore poses no danger to supply lines, masonry or paving slabs.

Beeches are poisonous, hornbeams are not

An important point when choosing is the toxicity of the plants. This is particularly important when children or animals live in the house.

Beeches, especially beechnuts, contain toxins that can cause mild symptoms of poisoning.

The hornbeam is completely non-toxic. It can also be planted on horse pastures or in kindergartens without hesitation.

The difference in leaf color

In spring and summer, beech hedge and hornbeam hedge hardly differ in leaf color.

The fall foliage, however, is different. Beech leaves turn bright orange, while hornbeam leaves turn yellow.

Both trees make good hedges

Both red beech and hornbeam hedges provide good privacy protection, as the leaves of the deciduous trees sometimes stick to the trees until the next spring.

Both types of hedge must be cut twice a year.


European beeches prefer a mild climate. If the weather is rough in your home, you should rather plant a hornbeam hedge.