Why plant Red Dragon Filbert?
You don’t follow the crowd, so why should your trees? Red Dragon Contorted Filbert is a one-of-a-kind original with leaves that are red instead of (yawn) green and branches that are curly instead of straight. This small specimen tree will be the highlight of your entryway garden, pool area, or patio landscape, winning smiles and compliments from your guests when they spot it. Make sure your Red Dragon is visible from inside the house, too, because this sculptural tree in winter is truly a work of art. With a dusting of snow, it’s a masterpiece!
This is the same plant that gives us filberts, or hazelnuts, though it has undergone quite a transformation. You may know “Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick,” a fantastic novelty form of filbert with curly, kinky branches that stick out in all directions like a bad perm. Red Dragon™ is a red-headed version developed by the Oregon State University filbert breeding program (Red Dragon™ does produce hazelnuts, but not many). It replaces the earlier Dutch introduction, ‘Red Majestic,’ which doesn’t hold its color as well and which is vulnerable to filbert blight.
How to use Red Dragon Filbert in the landscape?
No need to train this Dragon - the wilder, the better! The twisty, quirky branches of this Contorted Filbert, along with the deep burgundy foliage, is more than enough character for your landscape. The fact that it's grafted on a standard is just bonus! Be sure to plant this awesome specimen in a location where it will get plenty of attention - it deserves nothing less.
Hardiness Zone: 3-9
How To Plant Red Dragon Filbert
Plant Red Dragon™ Contorted Filbert in full sun to bring out the best of its wine-red color. Our plants are grafted on a standard (a short trunk), so you will want to trim out any green-leafed or straight-growing branches coming from the trunk or roots. They grow more vigorously than Red Dragon™ and can overtake the twisty red growth. Otherwise, this tree is easy to grow. Plant crocuses underneath to bloom with the dusky red catkins in late winter, or sky-blue forget-me-nots to compliment the rich burgundy foliage in spring.
We purchased one of these from you last year - my question relates to pruning. Should we be cutting away any/all new growth that starts to arise from the base of the trunk?
That is a great question - thank you for asking it!
Our Bower & Branch Growers recommend removing ALL the new growth and branches that originate from the base. Red Dragon is a grafted plant on hardy root stock - the resulting growth from below that ground level graft will revert back to the green foliage of the root stock.
They suggest removing these as they appear from time to time. Best practice is to do so while these unwanted branches are at bud stage or jus developing. Simply rub your hand around the base as you see these begin to develop when they are very small. Should they grow before you are able to do so, use pruners and cut back to about 1/4 of an inch, avoiding the trunk of your Tree. It is best to use your hand when these 'suckers' are just breaking, this will help slow any repeating suckers as well.
Our Growers also mentioned that you may want to prune your Red Dragon's primary branches by simply 'tipping' each branch by pruning back 1 to 2 buds. This will help fill in the plant and can aid in providing the desired shape you would like!
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.