The Q&A Archives: Need Help For Contorted Filbert

Question: I purchased a Harry Lauder Walking Stick (against protest that it was ugly!) about four years ago. I have kept hope that it would flourish but I have seen very little if any growth and it looks worse each year. I have done nothing to it because I did not know what to do...HELP. I was told I may need to move it away from the road because traffic on my small rural road may hurt it. Right now it sits about three feet from the road on a 12' x 6' "island" between our semi-circular driveway and the small road. Would moving it be best and if so where? Also what does this cute little twisted guy need to flourish?

Answer: By your question, I think you already know the answer: your tree needs to be moved from it's unsatisfactory location! Harry Lauder's Walking Stick, also known as the contorted filbert (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') is a curious shrub or small tree (to 10') with wonderfully twisted stems which give it an interesting appearance especially in winter. Since it does deserve a special place in your landscape, I see why you chose the area you did both by the road and the driveway.

However, whether the road and driveway are gravel or asphalt, either will hamper the growing habitat of this small tree which needs a loamy, well-drained, fertile soil. Pick a spot that will get plenty of sun. To prevent more shock to this little gem, prepare your hole as soon as you can work the ground in early spring, adding compost and superphosphate to stimulate root growth. Then carefully transplant your tree with as large a root ball as you can handle. Be sure to water well at planting, and once a week through the summer. Keep the area under the tree mulched with 3-4 inches of mulch (don't allow the mulch to run up the bark.) By next summer you should see your H.L. Walking Stick looking a lot better!

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