Mystery trees are hornbeams

Do you know what kind of trees are planted in the Lowe's parking lot? They seem to stay a nice size, appropriate for smaller yards.

— Virginia M., Medford

We've never had anyone admire trees in a parking lot before, Virginia. Usually you can't see the trees for the cars. But we do have an answer to your question. The trees in the parking lot are hornbeams, according to Michelle Forsyth, zone manager at Lowe's on Highway 62.

The trees were planted there about 15 years ago, most likely when the store was known as Eagle Hardware. There are also some aristocrat pears planted near the garden center, she said. Hornbeams are a slow-growing ornamental from the birch family that are distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere, according to Britannica Online Encyclopedia. The English name of hornbeam comes from the hardness of the wood (likened to animal horn) and the Old English "beam," a tree.

From what we can tell about the tree in our extensive studies here at the Since You Asked Botanical Garden and Office Tower, it is very well-mannered and is quite appealing in most garden settings. Some gardeners even create hornbeam hedges by weaving several trees' branches together.

Forsyth said she wasn't sure whether Lowe's would carry the trees in its garden center in the spring. But she said the trees appear very hardy.

"They pretty much maintain themselves," Forsyth said. "I don't see any bad tree trunks popping up out of the ground."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

Share This Story