My Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick Isn’t Surviving Here

Q: I had a gorgeous Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick when I lived on Long Island. But the one I planted here is barely holding on. I’m guessing it gets too much sun and heat. 

A: I have a ten-foot-tall contorted filbert and my neighbor has another. Both are growing great in full sun with no irrigation. More than likely, your limiting factor is the root system.

In early November, dig up your plant, trying to get as many roots as possible. Put it on your driveway and use a hose to wash the dirt completely off of the roots. Loosen the soil in an area four feet in diameter. Scoop enough soil from the middle of this area to spread your plant roots as wide as you can. It is fine to clip a few if they won’t spread as you wish. Backfill over the roots, water thoroughly, mulch, and your shrub should be lots healthier next year.

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