The Q&A Archives: Growing and caring for a corylus avellana 'contorta'

Question: I bought a pair of 'contorted' filberts at my local Home Depot because of their unusual shape,(they are just starting to leaf). Now that I have them I need some help caring for them. Deer are a problem in my neighborhood so I would like to enclose them in the fenced patio area of my yard until they are larger. They are still in the 2 gallon pot they came in. Can they be container grown and if so how and how long. I live in the Middle South growing region. The zip code for my local Home Depot is 37027. Thank you for your help. Mary B.

Answer: Corylus avellana 'contorta' is slow growing, which makes it a perfect specimen for container growing. Their mature height is only about 8', and will probably be smaller if kept in a container. You can leave yours in the nursery pot until the roots begin escaping from the drainage holes (an indication it is pot-bound), or you can transplant it into a larger, more decorative pot. You can start with a 5-gallon sized pot and move it to a larger one in 4-5 years. Use a 50-50 mixture of garden soil and potting soil; garden soil for weight and potting soil for fast drainage. Without the garden soil your filberts could topple over in the wind because most of the weight would be at the top of the plant rather than at the root area. Filberts will grow in full sunshine to part afternoon shade. Soil in containers dries out quickly so check it every few days during the summer to make sure it doesn't become bone-dry.

Good luck with your new trees.

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