Winter trees: identify bare hazel in December

Charlotte Armitage , 29/11/2017

Bare hazel coppice

Bare hazel coppice (Brian Legg/WTML)

We have already had a number of reports that hazel shrubs are starting to lose their leaves. Have you seen any with none?  Help us build a picture of what’s happening to wildlife this year. Here are our top hazel spotting tips.

When should I start looking for bare hazel?

Using records from previous years we have been able to predict that hazel  shrubs may become bare from early November to mid-December, so please start looking now

Sleeping Dormouse

Sleeping dormouse (WTML/Amy Lewis)

Hazel nuts

Hazel nuts (

Recording and identifying hazel for Nature’s Calendar

  1. Historically hazel has been coppiced and is an important species for hedgerows. Due to their management the shrubs are usually three to eight meters tall, but can reach as high as 15 meters!
  2. See our hazel page to find out more about how to identify this species.
  3. The exact date the shrub lost all its leaves is the vital information we need. 
  4. Keep watching and let us know the date when the shrub first becomes completely bare.
Desktop calendar

Hazel woods and dormice
Common dormice are now classified as rare and vulnerable to extinction in the UK the main reason for this is thought to be loss of habitat. They are easily identified as they are the only UK mouse with a furry tail. These rodents are particularly dependent on hazel as they fatten up on its nuts in preparation for the winter. Nature’s Calendar records so far for 2017 show that hazel has had an average crop size so there should be enough food for hibernating dormice.

Hazel desktop wallpaper
Download our hazel wallpaper to remind you what to look out for this month.

Join thousands of other people and let us know what's happening to wildlife near you.

Join thousands of other people and let us know what's happening to wildlife near you.

Have you seen your first butterfly or swallow of the spring? Is it a good year for wild autumn fruits? Take part in Nature's Calendar and help scientists to monitor the effects of climate change on wildlife.

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