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Ironwood Tree

Ironwood Tree, also known as the American hophornbeam or merely the hornbeam tree, grows throughout the eastern half of the United States and Canada. It prefers any condition from full sun to partial shade, as it naturally grows in the understory of the forest. These trees do best in moist but well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It takes to establish its presence but can then grow to a significant height. As a mature adult, the tree can be anywhere from 25 to 40 feet tall. With the spread of its branches, it can also be approximately 25 or 30 feet wide, with the branches spreading out more towards the top of the tree. The oblong-shaped leaves of the ironwood are between two and five inches long, and the leaves are doubly-serrated. On the underside of the leaves, which are a medium to dark green, you'll see a sizeable central vein. The flaky bark of the tree is grayish-brown and runs in a vertical pattern. The twigs that run off the branches have more of a reddish-brown hue. Those twigs can run in a zig-zag pattern, making for a beautiful and intricate design. The female ironwoods showcase their small, delicate catkins in the spring, whereas the males may have them all winter long. Those catkins can grow up to one inch long, giving a beautiful display of color during the colder months. Because of the dense and heavy wood that make up the tree, this species has traditionally been sought after for its timber. It's also relatively resistant to disease and insect infestation, so once established in a yard, it should be able to thrive. It's best to prune the Ironwood in late winter or early spring. Ruffed Grouse and other birds can sometimes be seen nesting or feeding in the branches of these trees.



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