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witch hazel dilemma


I have three witch hazels in the garden growing in a triangle (naturally known as the Three Witches) two, H. 'Pallida' and H. vernalis.'Sandra' are doing well, but the third which is the older of the trio and a deep burnt orange colour, inherited from the previous owner, has suffered neglect and the graft is in danger of being overtaken by the rootstock which I guess is H. virginiana.


The graft is the branch lower right, everything else is rootstock. This was photographed before the long summer grass around its base was cleared away and a mulch applied. Annoyingly, the rootstock is now (late September) in flower, although lacking any scent.

My dilemma is, should I prune out all the rootstock and give the graft a chance which will result in a very lopsided shrub?


leave as is and accept that H. virginiana is not the most exciting of witch hazels?


cut back the rootstock and attempt to take some grafts from the surviving piece to graft onto the rootstock stumps?

Any suggestions gratefully received!




  • I agree 100% with Verdun image

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

  • Yes, I'm inclined to agree, the rootstock has suckered to such an extent I think it would be difficult to get the original graft back to anything decent. I may compromise by removing the tree this winter and replanting with a better specimen - H. x i. 'Diana' seems a good red, and maybe replant the old one in an out -of -the -way spot, having first cut out as much of the rootstock as possible and let it take its chances!



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