The Q&A Archives: help with harry lauders walking stick tree

Question: First its an awsome tree! I got the tree a month ago since then I repotted it into a large pot. I noticed when I got it home that some of the branch ends are brown when doing the thumb nail test. Down lower its green under the bark. Should I trim these back until I see green? There are no leaves on the tree except about 1 foot up the tree from the soil there are two leaves growing. I dont want to lose this awsome tree. Please help And any other tips you might have. Thanks Tracy

Answer: I am not sure what has happened to your shrub, but dead wood should be trimmed off as it will not regrow. Dead wood is dull gray or brown, dry and brittle, snaps in your hand, the buds are dried out or fallen off, and there is no green inside the bark. Live wood is somewhat supple and has plump buds and is green just inside the bark. I hope the new potting mix you used was a similar texture to the original it came in and that any encircling roots were trimmed or untangled to encourage it to root into the new soil. Also, when you water the water should be soaking the entire soil mass, not just the surface. The soil needs to be slightly damp like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet or saturated. Also, the container needs to have a drainage hole at the bottom so any excess water can escape. The plant should be in full sun or at least a half day of direct sun. I should probably mention that it will be very difficult to overwinter this plant in a container. If you could plant it, that might be a better approach. In the meantime, you might also want to check back with your retailer as it sounds like the plant is in somewhat rough shape.

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