how large does witch hazel get?

hoyess(z5 ON Can)March 14, 2006

I am thinking of planting a witch hazel (probably Arnold Promise) in front of a blue spruce & beside some Miss Kim Lilac. I was hoping for taller / narrow shape so picked what I hope is vase shaped Arnold Promise. How big and especially wide does this plant get? I'm debating on what to put along with these but am not sure of the spread of the witch hazel. I have some dwarf burning bush that may go in this bed as well depending on space.

Thanks Sharon

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Dirr says it can go over 20', but most online sources say from 10-15' tall and wide. In your zone, I would assume the smaller size range.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 5:31PM
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I am in zone 5 and Arnold Promise gets very big indeed. This has been a completely reliable shrub here, usually blooming around Valentine's Day. Only that terrible cold January two years ago delayed it two weeks but did not harm the buds at all. This is a very big shrub--more like a small tree. You can prune it very hard--I do--but you have to keep up with it every year.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 8:12PM
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Before you buy one, check out your low temperatures. Canadian zone 5 is colder than USDA zone 5, and 'Arnold Promise' might not be hardy for you. If not, Vernal witch hazel is hardier and H. x intermediate 'Ruby Glow' survived -30 degrees F at the U of Maine, Orono.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 6:57AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I wouldn't plan on whacking away at it, not actually a good subject for such treatment. Plants with angular branching can really look bad after being headed back, due to the way the branches are shaped.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 3:42AM
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I whack away at mine and it looks gorgeous. Artistic pruning is certainly possible with this shrub--it doesn't have to get a crew cut. It has been covered with flowers since just before Valentine's Day--length of bloom period is another reason to grow this.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 10:29AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Depends on what whacking away at and gorgeous consist of specifically in this instance. Somebody else might look at your specimen and be appalled, depending on what exactly you are doing. You can top a plum or cherry and get a heavy bloom on the response growth as well. The branching structure of the tree has also been spoiled in the process.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 2:12PM
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There are many ways of pruning besides "topping". I do not "top" my witch hazel. But I do prune it hard. And it is gorgeous. And that's my final answer!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 3:49PM
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nyssaman(Z6 ON)

Witch hazel is a species that occurs naturally here in southern ontario, as for size they have no problem attaining 15 feet here. In london ontario there are quite a few at komoka provincial park that size .

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 6:40PM
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However big it gets, unless you are planning to shell out a TON of money- you will probably find that the hybrid doesn't reach that size FAST ENOUGH!

Conventional wisdom would say set down the pruners and step back unless you are getting suckering from root stock because these trees naturally form a very pleasing and regular shape.

However, since the essence of "gardening" is man putting his own stamp on nature, I'll reserve judgement about Ginny's aesthetic- never having been to her garden.

It may be different for H. virginiana or H. vernalis, which I think may be hardier and more vigorous. Perhaps Ginny has one or the other of these?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 12:45AM
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sunburygirl(z5 OH)

I have a Arnold's Promise witch hazel I got about seven years ago as a one foot sapling from Forestfarm. It is now (drumroll) three foot high! It's healthy, just seems to grow at a snail's pace so you might keep that in mind.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 7:31AM
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Sorry, Ginny- wasn't questioning your accuracy- just saw where I had missed you specifically mentioning that 'Arnold Promise' was what you had.

How old is your tree?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 2:02PM
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No offense taken, hoe_hoe_hoe. It's about twelve years old. And you know the old saying about the growth of plants--they sleep, they creep and they leap. In other words, they grow very slowly at first and then--watch out. I had seen Arnold Promise at the Arnold Arboretum here in Boston so I knew it got big tho it didn't happen for several years. But I wanted it for a specific spot against the south side of my house where there isn't much room. Hence, the necessity of hard pruning.

One interesting thing I forgot. The very first time I ever saw Arnold Promise was at a friend's house. She had one espaliered against the front of her dark-brown house. It was quite striking. I've never seen that treatment before or since. It seemed happy, tho labor-intensive.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 4:02PM
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hoyess(z5 ON Can)

thanks everyone for the info. Just got back from vacation & had lots of new things to consider! It sounds like the spot I'm considering won't work as this is the front of the house & I want something a little more orderly in mind. Not true formal but more on the formal side. I do however have a large bush of hawthorn trees at the back that is currently surrounded by lots of weeds/raspberry canes & grape vines that I am slowly clearing. I'm planning on naturalizing this section with sumac, forsythia, large viburnums etc. Sounds like the witch hazel may be a good candidate for there as well. Thanks again Sharon

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 7:11PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Plant near the house where you can enjoy easily in winter. As mentioned can be espaliered if needed, Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle has several Hamamelis espaliered on the north side of one of the buildings.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2006 at 1:46AM
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hoyess(z5 ON Can)

actually bboy thats a good point I hadn't thougth of. Actually the bush at my back is my winter view out large windows that face my backyard. That would be the best spot for me to enjoy it just as I'm looking outside, longing to garden! I'll make sure I place it so I see it from my favorite tea chair!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2006 at 7:43PM
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