QI have just moved back in with my mother and there is a lovely contorted hazel in the back garden. It is currently about 12 – 15ft high which is a little large for a small garden, when is the best time to prune it and how severe dare I be?

Peter

AI love contorted hazel – I have one in my garden, but I’ll admit that I don’t prune it much! I like to leave it as wild as possible.

But you can prune it. Do it in early spring so you don’t chop off the catkins. It probably won’t take kindly to hard pruning, so aim to cut it back over a few seasons.

Prune out any dead, diseased or damaged branches. It’s better to remove them that to chop halfway along.

Prune out any congested branches or those that are growing the wrong way too.

Mulch around the tree after pruning to put extra nutrients in the soil.

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