Harry Lauder's Walking Stick

svrcAugust 22, 2008

I live in New York in zone 5 and purchased a 4 ft. tall corylus avellana 'contorta' or Harry Lauder's walking stick at a gardening show. I planted it in a large plastic container that looks like a half wine barrel. It's currently outside with 2 inches of mulch on top, inside container. Can it remain in the container outside indefinitely, especially through winter?

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Contorted filbert/hazelnut is often listed as hardy to zone 4, so you get a 'MAYBE' as an answer to leaving it unprotected all winter. You WILL be in good shape if you bury the container out of the wind (and preferably sun), and you SHOULD be ok if you place the container against a heated building out of wind/sun & mulch heavily. If you do the latter, it will likely leaf out too early & need to be moved to protection when frost threatens.

I can tell you that this plant is not on it's own roots and is prone to rampant basal suckering. Remove the suckers cleanly where they are attached to basal roots or the suckers will soon overtake the plant. It's easy to tell the suckers from the scion because they will be straight - not contorted. Yearly applications of RTU Sucker Stopper to basal roots you have pulled the soil away from is very effective at eliminating the suckering.

I have lots of experience tending this plant as I have a 21 year old specimen in my garden and a 9 year old plant in the landscape at my business.

Good luck.

Al

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 10:40PM
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schmoo

"I can tell you that this plant is not on it's own roots and is prone to rampant basal suckering"

Al,

While this is the case on older plants, cutting propagation and tissue culture have been mastered over the years on this plant. I am sure there are those who still graft them, but there are HUGE quantities now being produced on there own roots (now someone needs to master witch hazel, now there is a "suckering" pain).

Schmoo

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 10:20AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hmmm. I just had a conversation with my favorite nurseryman about this plant, and he indicated that everything he gets is grafted and suckering remains a huge problem. I'm not sure why that is. I've started more than a dozen for friends simply by sticking dormant cuttings in a raised nursery bed. I get a fairly low strike rate, I'm guessing from 20-30%, but I don't take any kind of special care with them, not even a hormonal aid. The plants from cuttings are really superior because they don't sucker.

I wonder if it's a regional thing to gain additional cold resistance by using the species root stock .....? If so, it's still likely her zone 5 plant is crown-rafted if a shrub and top-grafted if a standard.

Al

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 10:46AM
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