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Dilemma - Corkscrew Hazel

I've had a Corkcrew Hazel (corylus avellana Contorta) for some years now and it's outgrown my garden. I love it in winter and early spring for its "Triffid"-like winter appearance, as my neighbour calls it, the beautifully long catkins it produces in Jan/Feb, and the Long-Tailed Tits which arrive in a gang and work over it in search of aphids and the like for a good 10 minutes at a time. I also secretly enjoy the on-going competition with the squirrels to see who can collect the most Cobnuts.

By Summer though it's taken over my small back garden looming dark and menacing and these days covering a large proportion of the border.

I've tried pruning it, which is akin to herding cats.

So with regret and apologies to the L-T Tits and Squirrels it has to come out image. Has anyone grown it sucessfully in a pot - I thought I might try taking cuttings?

P.S. As recompense to the wildlife and the rest of my plants I'm replacing it with Rosa Glauca



  • Morning Quercus, we have one growing successfully in a pot. It's slow growing and the pot contains the growth. We get the catkins, but you would miss the LT tits! How about a tree surgeon to prune it for you?
  • Morning Petal! Apart from the expense I haven't read anything that gives a pruning regime other than prune out the straight shoots so I'm not sure how successful that would be.

    I think I'll spend my money on the largest pot I can afford, be patient and look at what else I can grow to encourage the LT Tits


  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    My next door neighbour has alovely one in apot. Yesterday it was full of Long-tail tits. She uts it quitehard each year and I tink last year prned the roots as well. She says she wouldn't plant it in her garden!

  • Tropical SamTropical Sam Posts: 1,488

    I have one in a large pot, so made some points:


    Keeps the tree small
    You can appreciate it better
    Easier to prune
    You can move it


    Difficult to keep soil from drying out - even with mulch
    It can blow over in strong winds
    Branch die back occurs more often- re lack of watering
    Need to feed it

    Your Corkscrew Willow is likely to be grafted, so you run the risk of losing the Corkscrew bit if you prune it right back and use the roots/and or gets lots of suckering from the grafted root stock.

  • I would think that keeping one in a pot from the start would be differerent from trying to move one into a pot from the garden. You may well find its rootball is much too large for it to transplant successfully now. I suppose you've got nothing to lose by trying, but I have my doubts ...

  • Good point about the pruning Blairs I hadn't thought about the grafting. 

    Yes I doubt I'll get a small enough rootball to transplant it. Think I might have to buy a new one.

    Hopefully another rootball to turn into something though!

  • Hi

    We grew  one in a pot, but as been said before it was okay for a while but in the end it suffered from lack of nutrients, although I fed it weekly in the summer months,  and I was forever watering it to keep it damp. If you want to grow one in a pot, make sure you get a big enough pot and use shrub/tree compost.

    I have now transplanted it to the garden and have kept it small by regular pruning, it seems to respond to being pruned directly after the catkins have finished, before it comes into leaf so that you can see what shape it is. I don't know if this is the correct way to do it but it works for me.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,740

    You can prune it hard back as you would do an ordinary hazel, although with a corkscrew hazel be careful not to prune below the graft. As said above, prune immediately after the catkins and before the leaves open.  

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • I'll give the hard pruning a try this year then. I thought you could only prune to shape. It's worth a go!

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,740

    As it's a bit of a slow grower, perhaps remove a third of the branches this year, a third next and the third third in the third year image otherwise it'll take a while to fill the space again. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

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