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