Corylus avellana 'Contorta'

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#1
Hello,

Well here is an unusual tree (in my limited experience). Called a Twisted Hazelnut in layman's terms.
I was looking for some potential in material at a garden centre and this really struck me. Bearing in mind, I have little confidence in my ability to spot potential because I simply haven't got the experience, but this "struck" me. So, I did what anyone would.... I wimped out and messaged Sorce and asked what he thought... :oops:. He seemed very happy with it, which backed my opinion, so I got it.
Here it is:
6lxtOc5.jpg iYKtX4z.jpg KGSqU1H.jpg hDxBGvO.jpg

This is the potential front of the tree that I was thinking of, shows its nice curves. However, I believe the tree could be layered a few times at different points so that potential front doesn't mean much at this point.
aE9aAA4.jpg

This is a link to all pics, if easier to view. It also has 3 other pics of the branches close up, and the cracked branches, which I would guess naturally happens due to the curving.
http://imgur.com/a/EcVk6

The green around it is moss of some sort, maybe sphagnum(?). Im interested to see if there is anymore flare to be got from the base when dug down a bit. I can feel under that moss near the base, that some thick stems had been cut off so its been around a while.
I have some thoughts on what I could maybe do, and I will do a little virt to see what it is like and see what you guys think. But, I'd like to know peoples thoughts please.

I think its got a nice bit of movement and scars from large cuts made (2) have nearly completely healed. It has a good thickness, not too much or too little, but lacks taper I think.
The multiple large branches coming out of the top of it seem to be a problem, and I would guess any major work done, would see removing that entire head.

P.S. It grows those twisted branches naturally (name is a giveaway), so I was thinking this could either be a terrible idea for bonsai or perhaps.... a very cool one? Imagining that kind of natural movement in smaller, better positioned, tapering branches, sounds really cool... in my head!
 
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Location
Bethlehem, PA
USDA Zone
6b
#3
Leaf size isn't small 4"? but could reduce, maybe? It looks like you need to get rid of a branch or two asap before you have incurable inverse taper. I'm glad your trying this tree out. My dad loves this tree, as a kid he had some in the landscape but they died of an unknown cause. He still has some branches in his basement to this day, they "struck" him as well.
 
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Location
Richmond, VA
USDA Zone
7a
#4
We get that plant around here, its also called Harry Lauder's Walking Stick and we also get a red leafed variety called Red Majestic. Very interesting growing shrub but the leaves can be on the large size and very coarse, I have seen small leaves on summer growth though. This would probably be better looking in the winter without leaves. I've seen considerable leaf scorch in the hot sun, but that may not be a problem for your area. Watch out because they like to sucker.

Good luck!
 
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Location
Essex, UK, Zone 8
#5
We get that plant around here, its also called Harry Lauder's Walking Stick and we also get a red leafed variety called Red Majestic. Very interesting growing shrub but the leaves can be on the large size and very coarse, I have seen small leaves on summer growth though. This would probably be better looking in the winter without leaves. I've seen considerable leaf scorch in the hot sun, but that may not be a problem for your area. Watch out because they like to sucker.

Good luck!
Certainly won't be an issue here, our weather is on the colder and less sunny side. Watch out for what bit sorry? Thanks for the post :)

Leaf size isn't small 4"? but could reduce, maybe? It looks like you need to get rid of a branch or two asap before you have incurable inverse taper. I'm glad your trying this tree out. My dad loves this tree, as a kid he had some in the landscape but they died of an unknown cause. He still has some branches in his basement to this day, they "struck" him as well.
I have read leaf size is 6–12 cm long and across, but in terms of reducing, Ill have to see if I can find some bonsai info on them. They also produce catkins which are the same length. I like the idea of the catkins hanging down over this tree, once it is much smaller and developed more.
Yes there are certainly some big branches to remove. That big one on the side is giving the tree a bit of a bulge, so I will have to do something about it.. Perhaps chop and carving smooth against the trunk or maybe even go full uro on it.
Any thoughts on the trunk, or potential development?
 
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Location
Richmond, VA
USDA Zone
7a
#6
Suckering is usually very vigorous growth from the roots. They're called suckers because it's believed to suck strength from the rest of the plant.

I bet you could get around large leaves by defoliating in the summer, so then you would have smaller leaves with better color.
 
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#7
Suckering is usually very vigorous growth from the roots. They're called suckers because it's believed to suck strength from the rest of the plant.

I bet you could get around large leaves by defoliating in the summer, so then you would have smaller leaves with better color.
Ah interesting, never heard of suckers before lol. Ill have to look that up more. If they are roots, how can one watch out for them, as they will be under the soil?
Apparently, after just reading online, they make for good winter silhouettes, due to the large leaf. I quite like the large leaves that I am seeing, tbh. But I understand why it is not a desired attribute of bonsai. I will certainly look to reduce leaf size, but got work to do before we get there! :)
 
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Location
Croatia,Dalmatian coast
#8
Any thoughts on the trunk, or potential development?
Definitely looks interesting, some trunks have to go , how many and which ones is hard to tell on 2D image. Also lot of it depends on what you will find under the moss. Anyway you will have to cut down short even the ones you left and rebuild the canopy, so don't be carried away in design with present picture, it is only temporary. Have fun.
 
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Richmond, VA
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#10
If they are roots, how can one watch out for them, as they will be under the soil?
Haha sorry, suckers are branches that come from very low on the plant or even from the root system.

I can feel under that moss near the base, that some thick stems had been cut off so its been around a while.
I bet these thick stems were suckers that the grower cut off.
 
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Location
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#11
We have one planted at work and it's funny because some of the suckers grow straight up and don't have any of the contorting habit, it's like its reverting to normal common hazel.
 

petegreg

Masterpiece
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Location
Slovakia
USDA Zone
6a
#12
First of all I'd repot it. Then I'd let the new growth extend to see how it looks when in leaves and then eliminate what I don't want. It may show more possibilities.

I've got one in the ground and you've just made me to bring it home and play with it.:)
 
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Location
Bristol, UK
#13
Conor, just as word of caution I would still keep a good eye on it in the UK. I've got a Contorta Purpurea in a pretty hefty pot and it had some nasty leaf scorch last summer. Leaf size doesn't seem to be very standard, some branches have smaller leaves and some end up with pretty big leaves. Still worth a crack though, they do look amazing during winter - I've got a couple of fairly big ones in large pots I move to the entrance of the care home I work at during the winter because they're interesting.

They do sucker like mad, I cut away rogue shoots coming up several times last year. Also because of the species they have a tendency to throw out shoots which grow dead straight randomly around the plant, so cut them back to retain the natural twisting or use them as sacrifices to thicken branches I guess.

Looks like a nice one though!
 
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Location
Bethlehem, PA
USDA Zone
6b
#15
Unless I'm seeing your virt wrong, it looks like you plan on keeping 3 branches in one spot, a bonsai no-no, in my opinion an asthetic no-no. The style is all up to you but I'd definitely pick 2 not 3, only because you asked
 
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Essex, UK, Zone 8
#16
Definitely looks interesting, some trunks have to go , how many and which ones is hard to tell on 2D image. Also lot of it depends on what you will find under the moss. Anyway you will have to cut down short even the ones you left and rebuild the canopy, so don't be carried away in design with present picture, it is only temporary. Have fun.
Definitely, I look forward to quite a bit of chopping away of bits. It has way more growth than I would like.

Maybe for future winter display, literati, I like these two trunks.
View attachment 132353
That's interesting. I didn't know what literati is till now. I looked it up quite a bit, saw some John Naka definitions and stuff. I feel like the transition between the trunk to those multiple big branches above, wouldn't be smooth enough to look good? All Literati seem to be 1 long trunk of some sort. But I certainly like the option.. Could maybe be that style, it has characteristics of it for sure. Thanks :).

Haha sorry, suckers are branches that come from very low on the plant or even from the root system.


I bet these thick stems were suckers that the grower cut off.
Ah that would explain things. I will look out for those. Pretty sure there is 1 shoot, very small, coming through the soil right now. I guess the one you have planted isn't for bonsai but what substrate do you use any way?

First of all I'd repot it. Then I'd let the new growth extend to see how it looks when in leaves and then eliminate what I don't want. It may show more possibilities.

I've got one in the ground and you've just made me to bring it home and play with it.:)
Sounds good but I feel there are some branches I need to get rid of ASAP as they are causing reverse taper, big bulges. Certainly the lowest branch. I don't think that could be used for anything any way and its messing up my nice smooth wiggly trunk.
Repot to same pot size or ground? I don't think it'd need to go in the ground, it has good thickness in the trunk.
 
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Location
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#17
I know nothing about this tree, but the green does look like sphagnum. :)
Unless I'm seeing your virt wrong, it looks like you plan on keeping 3 branches in one spot, a bonsai no-no, in my opinion an asthetic no-no. The style is all up to you but I'd definitely pick 2 not 3, only because you asked
Yes I think so Gustavo :).
I haven't done a virt yet GGB. Pete's virt has 2 branches in though, I believe.
Yes I agree, I totally don't want more than 1 branch coming from the same spot in any case. The 2 proposed by Pete in his virt, would taking some thinking and opinions about :).
 
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Location
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#18
Conor, just as word of caution I would still keep a good eye on it in the UK. I've got a Contorta Purpurea in a pretty hefty pot and it had some nasty leaf scorch last summer. Leaf size doesn't seem to be very standard, some branches have smaller leaves and some end up with pretty big leaves. Still worth a crack though, they do look amazing during winter - I've got a couple of fairly big ones in large pots I move to the entrance of the care home I work at during the winter because they're interesting.

They do sucker like mad, I cut away rogue shoots coming up several times last year. Also because of the species they have a tendency to throw out shoots which grow dead straight randomly around the plant, so cut them back to retain the natural twisting or use them as sacrifices to thicken branches I guess.

Looks like a nice one though!
Ok thank you, thats good info. I will keep in partial shade, at the height of summer. The bigger leaves don't put me off at all, I will try to reduce them though :).
I will definitely keep an eye out for suckers. I was thinking of using some sacrifices for other purposes, maybe new branches in places or nebari but I don't know how nebari would suit this tree..
 
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696
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Location
Richmond, VA
USDA Zone
7a
#20
I guess the one you have planted isn't for bonsai but what substrate do you use any way?
Yeah, it's been planted on the property for at least 10 years. Now that I'm thinking about it I should dig it up, I bet no one would miss it :eek:.

Are you asking what substrate I would use if in a pot or just in general?