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Corkscrew Hazel | A Beautiful, Twisted Tree for the Garden

By Schnobby

Corkscrew Hazel | A Beautiful, Twisted Tree for the Garden


By Schnobby

Photo By: Schnobby –

As a garden designer I find that creating a main and unusual focal plant in any garden enhances it charm and invites a welcoming interest. In particular, a shrub such as Corkscrew Hazel would be spectacular if included in a whimsical or fairy garden due to it’s gnarled branches.

Corkscrew Hazel (Corylus avellana “Contorta”), also known as Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, is a deciduous shrub that grows to 8 to 10 feet in height and spread. It is hardy to USDA Plant Hardiness zones 4B to 8.  This shrub also features unusual branches, leaves and twigs which are twisted and showy yellow flowers. Unlike most hazel trees, Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick usually does not produce nuts.  However, it does look picturesque during winter due to it’s uncommon form made prominent by the contorted, bare branches against a snowy background.

Corkscrew hazel trees form aggressive root suckers that should be removed immediately as they occur to ensure optimum growth and prevent thickets. It will grow quite happily in moist, well draining, average soil. You can also grow it in a very large container.  Quality, well draining potting medium is recommended.

There are no serious insect or disease problems, other than Japanese beetles who will try to munch on the foliage. Handpicking the beetles and discarding is a organic way of removing them but natural pesticides will also discourage them.





  1. tonytomeo
    January 7, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    This is a weird one to prune. It collects dead stems that need to be removed, and it looks better if some of the older viable stems are thinned out to show off the structure better. It just should not be pruned so severely that it generates overly vigorous and less gnarly shoots.

    1. The Editors of Garden Variety
      January 9, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      Thank you so much for your insight 🙂

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