Witch hazel pruning

Can I cut witch hazel to the ground and expect it to come back?
I'm dealing with a plant that has gotten a bit leggy under the influence of about a million pounds of wisteria (which I have now sent to meet its maker). The branches come straight from the base, are about 1+ inches thick and 8'-10' long. The plant is vase shaped. It will be getting more sun now as well though not tons as it is in an NYC brownstone yard.
Can it be cut to the ground so that it will grow back a little thicker or will it do this on its own? Or should it be leggy? I confess I've never seen one this big up close.
Thanks,
Michael
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I wouldn't cut it to the ground, but I would plan a course of action. What it needs is rejuvenation. That can be done in a few years, but patience is required. Allow it to leaf out as it is, then judiciously prune it into the shape you desire. You also may be surprised how well it shapes up in spring without the wisteria! I say give it till it leafs out in spring and go from there.
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In a word, no. Without seeing how leggy it is in reality due to the wisteria infestation, witch hazels tend to be rather leggy shrubs anyway. They develop a growth habit exactly as you describe - long arching branches, sometimes very horizontal in form, originating from faurly low on the trunk and describing a vase shape. Little if any pruning is typically recommended. If you feel you do need to, wait unitl after it flowers but just as the leaves emerge, March or April, and head back long straggley branches to a point where they fork or a growth node exists.
Witch hazels will sometimes throw new shoots from low on the trunk, but they are not the same as the replacement growth regularly generated by caning shrubs. FWIW, witch hazels tend to be large spreading shrubs that cover a much wider spread than they achieve in height.
pam - gardengal.

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Thanks to all!! I will digest this, look at the plant again and see if I have other questions.
Cheers.
Michael in article 4Twlb.206184$%h1.203854@sccrnsc02, Pam - gardengal at snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote on 10/22/03 9:54 AM:

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Pam how tall and wide will Witch Hazel grow if in a spot it likes? Does it fill in thickly or does it remain open?
Thanks
Dave Sterling Heights, MI
On Wed, 22 Oct 2003 14:54:56 GMT, "Pam - gardengal"

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