Friday, January 7, 2011

Harry Lauder's Walking Stick

Photo by: White Swan Properties 

If you are looking for a unique specimen plant for winter interest then Harry Lauder's walking stick may be just the ticket for you and your landscape. The corkscrew shape of its branches lends much-needed visual interest to a winter landscape.

Pictured above is Harry Lauder's walking stick in early spring, just as the leaves are beginning to bud.

Common Name: Harry Lauder's walking stick (other names commonly used are corkscrew hazelnut, corkscrew filbert and contorted hazelnut).
Botanical Name: Corylus avellana 'Contorta'
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Deciduous shrub
Height: 8 to 10 feet
Spread: 8 to 10 feet
Bloom Time: April bloom
Bloom Color: Yellowish brown catkins
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

Harry Lauder's walking stick is usually sold in a grafted form. This means that the plant does not grow on its own roots but rather is grated onto another plants root system. For tree standards as the one pictured here, the graft occurs at the top of the tree trunk. As with all grafted plants there is a tendency for suckers to shoot up from the rootstock. These suckers must be removed so that the plant does not revert back to the characteristics of its rootstock.

The plant typically has no serious insect or disease problems. Although it does have some susceptibility to leaf spots, blight and crown gall. A blight I ran across this past year was Eastern Filbert Blight. Occasional insect pests include scale, leafhoppers and various foliage-eating caterpillars. All in all though, an easy plant to grow.

Photo by: White Swan Properties

This second photo of a Harry Lauder's walking stick was taken in late autumn and shows it characteristic round, double-toothed, light green leaves that are approx. 2-3" long. In full leaf the shrub looks as though it is pouting or needs a drink of water, but that is part of its unique appearance. This is a very young tree, just newly installed in the spring. It will take it a few years to get to the size of the one pictured at the top of this blog.


Photo by White Swan Properties

This final photo shows what Harry Lauder's walking stick looks like mixed in with the landscape. Winter or summer Harry Lauder's walking stick looks stunning in this landscape designed and installed by White Swan Properties.

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