Witch hazel pruning(Hamamelis intermedia)

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Mame
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How hard can you prune these guys?

I recently was gifted with one. "Jenna" I'm guessing from the flowers. 3 inch caliper trunk, very open shape, with all the buds out on the ends of the current branches.

I have seen these styled and really like the look (yeah, I know leaves don't reduce for squat), but really not familiar with their habit. Seeing nothing on El Google about how they backbud, die-back, or ramify, I was hoping someone here might have some experience with either this hybrid, mollis, or virginiana (which I guess is close enough of a relative to be used as the root stock).

If you trim back to the lowest leaf buds, will this encourage backbudding? What about hacking back just shy of an older internode?

I see an outline in this tree I like, but it has grown past it a bit.
 

0soyoung

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If you trim back to the lowest leaf buds, will this encourage backbudding?
This is pretty much how all trees work.
The only questions are: what if you cut further, and when you do it.

Generally buds will only pop from nodes. Locations of former branches identify nodes. Flowers appear only at shoot tips --> flowers mark nodes.

I suggest you enjoy the flowers (which should appear in the next month or two) before you start cutting away at it.
 

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Mame
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I suggest you enjoy the flowers (which should appear in the next month or two) before you start cutting away at it.

Oh heck yeah, that's what got me excited about this. We had a week of colder-than-normal temps that sent a wave of buds into opening early so there are some already showing. I am looking forward to a January display.
 

ABCarve

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Anyone have experience with ground layering these? I’ve read most propagation is by seed or grafting.

C350D5BB-082E-4148-A34F-F36E4D100E39.jpeg
 

0soyoung

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Nope, but you could try layering a branch or rooting a cutting to get some idea about "rootablilty" before taking the potentially risky step. I have one of these as a landscape planting but haven't ever done anything with it aside from just pruning it back a bit. In my earlier bonsai-life I was a layering maniac. Somehow our witch hazel escaped untouched!
 
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