Trimming Corkscrew Hazelnuts: How To Prune A Contorted Hazelnut Tree

(Image credit: Robert Moore)

Contorted hazelnut, also called corkscrew hazelnut, is a shrub that doesn’t have many straight branches. It is known and loved for its twisting, spiral-like stems. If you want to start pruning a corkscrew hazelnut, you can turn the one-of-a-kind specimen plant into a little tree. Read on for information on trimming corkscrew hazelnuts, including tips on how to prune a contorted hazelnut.

Contorted Hazelnut Pruning

Corkscrew hazelnut (Corylus avellana) is a shrub that is grown as an unusual ornamental. It is prized for its characteristically twisted stems and leaves. It also produces attractive yellow catkins. Leave the plant to mature with its natural growth habit for a unique specimen plant with completely twisted branches. If you want to grow one of these hazelnuts as a small tree, contorted hazelnut pruning is required.

Trimming Corkscrew Hazelnuts

If you are interested in trimming corkscrew hazelnuts, be sure to do so at the correct time. Pruning a corkscrew hazelnut is best accomplished in winter or early spring while the plant is dormant. Ideally, it should be just before new growth starts. The only tool you need for contorted hazelnut pruning is garden pruners. You also might want to have a pair of garden gloves handy.

How to Prune a Contorted Hazelnut

If you are wondering how to prune a contorted hazelnut, it isn’t very difficult. The first step in trimming corkscrew hazelnuts is to remove about a third of the plant’s oldest stems. You can do this each year. Remove these stems by pruning them back to their parent branches. You should also prune inward growing stems back to outward facing buds. When the goal for pruning a corkscrew hazelnut is to shape it into a small tree, remove the lower lateral stems. Ideally, this trimming should be done the second year after planting. As time passes, remove any branches that do not contribute to your vision of the plant. During contorted hazelnut pruning, always check for suckers at the base of the shrub. Remove these suckers to prevent them from competing with the parent plant for soil nutrients and water.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.