The Q&A Archives: Henry Lauder Walking Stick Tree branches wont twist and curl

Question: What makes the Walking Stick tree branches curl and twist and how do I help promote it? I planted this tree 5 years ago and it was 4-5 foot high and now it is 10-15 foot high. The branches grow vertically not horizontally except the lower base branches that was already curled when I purchased the tree. This year I removed more of the grass area beneath and added re-cycled waste fertilizer for the first time. Any surgestions.

Answer: Henry Lauder's Walking Stick (Corylus avellana "Contorta") is grafted onto a different rootstock. It's usually grafted high (about 4' high). If this graft is damaged or if it dies, the branches your plant produces will be from the rootstock (a filbert tree), with standard branching patterns, not the twisted curving branches you expect. There's nothing you can do if the graft is damaged other than replace the tree. Before doing that, though, cut off the branches that do not curve and try to get in close to inspect the graft. You want new growth from the graft or above, not from below the graft. Best wishes with your contorted filbert.

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