Other Common Name: Hop Hornbeam
The Ironwood trees are becoming more apparent in Minnesota woods right now as most trees have shed their leaves, Ironwoods tend to hold onto their leaves much longer into the winter months. These dark brown leaves provide some nice interest in the woodland landscape in the winter.
We have planted several Ironwood trees in our yard, many in the backyard where we reclaimed the lawn and have started to turn it back into a woodland. This area is very dry and shaded and they're doing really well.
This summer was the first summer in the 4 years since we converted the lawn where we started to get Ironwood seedlings coming up.
We have several mature Ironwoods over the backyard fence and now that we have a better growing medium built up (leaf litter & humus) seedlings are starting to germinate.
These papery seed pods dry and turn from creamy white in color to a light brown later in the season. The seeds drop in the fall and winter months.
Ironwood is by no mean a straight upright tree. Its main leader will often take a few twists and turns as it grows upwards. The branching is very flat or horizontal which gives it an overall unique form in the woods or landscape.
If you have some openings in your shaded landscape for Ironwood I would highly recommend this native tree. It makes a great replacement to the invasive European Buckthorn.
Ironwood is native to Eastern North America, from Saskatchewan south to Texas and eastwards.