Firespire® Musclewood

Carpinus caroliniana ‘J.N. Upright’

Height and Spread15' tall x 8-10' wide
Shape and GrowthUpright
Plant TypeDeciduous shade tree
Bloom TimeSpring
FoliageGreen, orange-red fall color
LightFull sun or shade
SoilPrefers moist, well-drained soil, pH 5.0-7.4
Pruning or ShearingMinimal pruning required
Landscape UsesFocal point, screening or hedge plant, street tree planting under utility wires in low salt locations
Disease ResistanceExcellent
Environmental BenefitsAttracts bees, beneficials and birds
Bred by Mike Yanny, JN Plant Selections


– Useful screening or hedge plant
– Tolerance for both sun & shade
– Minimal pruning required
– Selected native
– Beloved by wildlife, particularly cardinals
– Smooth gray bark provides winter interest


– Full sun for best fall color
– Mulching recommended for all landscape plantings

“I have grown Carpinus caroliniana ‘J.N. Upright’ Firespire® for 10 years in the Longenecker Horticultural Gardens (USDA Hardiness zone 4) and it has been more reliably winter hardy than any of the other columnar hornbeam selections. Its fiery red-orange autumn foliage coloration rates the best of the columnar hornbeams, so I consider Firespire® to be an ideal choice for use as a small-scale columnar tree.”

– Edward R. Hasselkus, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison