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Taming Hazel after hard cut back

WaysideWayside Posts: 845
edited November 2020 in Plants
I have a neighbour who has hazels in their boundary.  They have been getting more and more tree like.  They recently hacked them back to about 3 or 4ft, the limbs are quite large.  They look slightly ugly at this point.

The gardens are narrow.  I'm assuming the hazel will spring back next year.

What would be the best approach to stopping them flopping out at the sides?

Should they clean the cuts, and leave taller stumps, or take them to the ground?

They are already multi-stemmed, which might be natural, but I guess there is a slight fear that new growth will occur at the boundary of the existing stumps.

Any tips?

Oh and have they picked a bad time of the year?


  • Hazel can grow to have thick trunks and be huge.
    Cutting them now will not be a problem.
    I suggest you look at a few video about Laying hedges...and  coppicing Hazel.
    You will see trunks almost cut right through...they will regrow from the roots and branches.
    Not easy to stop them flopping. As they get tall...that is just what they do.

    No need to clean the cuts.
    Height of cut is just personal preference.
    When coppiced they are cut right down to the ground.
    Hope this helps.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,279
    You can cut hazels down to a few inches or a foot, and they will sprout and grow back. Within two years they will be back to 10 ft.  Regular coppicing for bean poles etc is normal.  If they cut them right down, and then prune to a hedge twice a year, they will keep in bounds. There is a random hazel or two in our beech hedge. It gets pruned back to a neat hedge every august. Some hazels cut to the ground next door, Easter 2019, and now multistemmed and back to 3m /10ft.  That was done with chainsaws and certainly no cleaning up of cuts.
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,468
    As Silver Surfer says, this is the optimum time of year for cutting them down, especially if you need pea boughs for spring.  The neighbour's decision to cut them at 3-4ft must look terribly ugly and, as others have said, ground level is ideal but, to maintain healthy root stock, chain saws are to be avoided.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,329
    I cut one of ours down to about a foot last year and wished I had gone lower. It’s planted in a stupid place next to a path and we couldn’t get past. It’s huge again and all splaying out so again, can’t get past without a bit of a fight!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • B3B3 Posts: 26,546
    I tried to dig a hazel out this year and gave up. I've pruned it to ground level and tried to damage the roots and do all the wrong things. To no avail. It now has multiple shoots about a foot high. I'm just going to have to keep it tightly pruned .
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • WaysideWayside Posts: 845
    @B3 I'd read your other Hazel post.  If you have the space I think they are lovely trees/shrubs.  Especially in spring, and when showing catkins.

    Yeah they are ugly at the height they have been cut.  And I just wondered if there was any advantage keeping them a little high, hoping they might not splay out, or be less annoying.  They get good sun, so perhaps will grow back strong and upright.  That's a big if.

    Or if given multi poles, best to leave the ones in the centre higher to try and get them to sprout, rather than boundary sprouts.

    Leaves looking great at the moment on a couple I have.   It's just them and the beech holding on!  SE England.

  • WaysideWayside Posts: 845
    edited November 2020
    @Silver surfer I didn't realise you could lay hazel.  That would have been ideal for them!  Oh well.  I've profited with a little firewood.  And a briefly revealed view.  Small gains.

    With Hawthorn and Hazel, and gash like cuts, why don't these lead to infection, like other trees?

    I've got some old Hawthorns, where two out of three limbs have rotted out, good healthy growth on the top, but quite a lot of rot near the base, where the old limbs have died back and cracked.  I was contemplating coppicing them.  But if it won't hurt I'll leave them alone.
  • WaysideWayside Posts: 845
    The bark is something special, they are gorgeous and remarkable aren't they?  If only I had an acre I'd fill it with a fair few.  And max respect to one of the hazels in our garden, it provides shelter for the shed!  And fruits much.  But sadly the comical tree rats just sample them and throw them on the floor, so I never get to harvest them.
  • I have never seen a squirrel in this garden, an island in a sea of green fields, but I still don't get any nuts. The woodpeckers and the woodmice make sure of that!
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