With its fragrant and colorful blossoms (ranging from red to yellow), witch hazel is quickly gaining popularity in winter landscapes all across North America.
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Want a tree or shrub that will dazzle you in the middle of winter? With its fragrant and colorful blossoms (ranging from red to yellow), witch hazel is quickly gaining popularity in winter landscapes all across North America.
According to Egan Davis of the Van Dussen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver, B.C., witch hazel can flower at a time of the year when nothing else is blooming – anytime from December up until March, depending on what kind of season you have. Even better, they don’t require special feeding or fertilizer and they’ll grow in almost any soil.
Keeping Witch Hazel in Shape
Although witch hazel is fairly low maintenance overall, the trees require regular pruning in order to maintain their horizontal growth habit, says Egan. "When you are pruning them, it’s important that when you make your cut, you keep in mind that the line you leave is long and straight."
It’s also a good idea to keep suckers – nonflowering twigs coming from the root stock – in check. Summer is the best time to remove suckers, which are often a different color from the main shrub. Cut suckers close to the ground so that stubs left behind won’t produce new suckers.
Transplanting Witch Hazel
Witch hazel can grow quite large so try to site it in a space where it will have plenty of room. If you need to transplant, Egan recommends following these steps:
- First clear any leaf debris from around the base of the tree and cut around the root ball with a spade (figure A). "What I want is for the root ball to be completely separated form the ground before I go in and lift it." Eventually the tree will topple.
The plan is easy to install. No hardscaping is involved, and the bed can be adapted to any patio edge.
Shade-tolerant shrubs that are grown for their flowers are best planted where a little sun can filter through, such as near...(5 photos)