Cobnut Tree Advice

I have 4 cobnut trees in my garden that were a good 5-6 meters tall so I asked for them to be pruned, in a 'ball' shape to around 2.5 meters. I was advised to wait until the catkins had fallen which I did. However, The trees now look like bare stumps (in a 'ball shape'!)

Have I ruined them? Will they grow leaves and fruit again?


  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 3,895
    When you say bare stumps, how high have they left the stump? The best way to prune hazel trees though is to coppice them to near ground level and they'll throw up a load of new growth from the stump. They're not really a tree that generally gets pollarded to a certain height.
  • rezareza Posts: 12
    The main stump is around 2.5 meters with a dozen or so long branches left sticking out from them from a low level up and they now look like lollipop-shaped skeletons.

    Are they ruined?
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 15,631
    Here is a photo of cobnuts being grown professionally for harvest.

    Do yours look anything like this? If so, they will fruit well though not perhaps look exactly as you had planned. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.😊
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 5,184
    If it helps Reza - I've just 'pollarded' 2 of my 3 hazels and cut a third one the same as it sounds as though yours have been done.

    I inherited these trees. They were planted far too close together and quickly outgrow their space each year and cast too much shade over a nearby border - but they do provide valuable screening and I like having a supply of hazel poles and flexible whippy branches for plant supports - so I choose to keep them.

    I have chosen to leave the middle one 'heavily pruned' (like yours I think) to retain some screening. Next year it may get pollarded or coppiced depending on what happens with the other trees. 

    The other 2 trees (either side of the 3rd) I thought seriously about cutting completely to the ground (ie coppicing) but decided to try pollarding them instead (ie cutting all the branches off to the top of the trunk).

    I figured it was worth trying pollarding as they might still give some much needed screening this year - but if they looks truly dreadful I can always coppice them next year.

    I expect mine will grow lots and lots of vertical shoots - yours may do the same. They might look quite ugly or I may quite like them - have to wait and see. I quite like coppiced hazel - the trees then grow like multi stemmed shrubs - so that may be their ultimate fate.

    You may find you don't have much in the way of 'fruit' this year  and you may not like the shape they develop with the vertical growth. One thing I'd lay odds on is that you haven't killed them. They will almost certainly leaf up again and if they don't produce fruit this year, they will do ok next year.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • rezareza Posts: 12
    Thanks so much for the information Topbird!

    The 'gardeners' that did this for me managed to destroy an 8m tall Leylandii hedge last year by cutting it back like a laurel hedge. It cost me dearly but at least I was able to replace it with Portugal laurel which is much nicer, although it'll be years before I get the screening I had.

    I thought they might have cocked-up again with my cobnuts.

    Thanks again for reassuring me.
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