This small- to medium-sized tree has distinctive bluish-gray, thin, smooth bark. It is typically found in rich, moist woods but can tolerate a range of conditions. Ideally it would be planted in a shaded area with moist soil that drains well enough to prevent over-saturation.
Songbirds, quail, turkey, and squirrels feed on seeds. Deer and rabbits may browse on leaves and twigs, but shouldn't be a problem for more established plants. Newly planted trees might need some protection if deer and rabbit populations are dense.
Musclewood foliage turns shades of yellow and orange in autumn. The extremely hard wood has been used to make tool handles, bowls, golf clubs, and other items. Other common names include American hornbeam, ironwood, blue beech, and water beech.
Uses: Fall color, ornamental tree, edible nuts
Bloom time: April - May
Height: up to 35 feet
Space: 20 to 25 feet
Sun: Medium to full shade
Moisture: Average to moist