Our corkscrew hazel (Filbert?) has a blight and has to be cut down. Could you suggest a substitute please? Zone 3-4, I believe. The tree stands in our small home garden plot.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Frances in Ontario: Contorted Filberts (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’) provide interesting structure to the garden. These Filberts are susceptible to eastern Filbert blight, ansiogramma anomala, which can cause severe cankering and die-back of branches. Unfortunately, it can take more than a year for symptoms to appear once the plant is infected. Replacing your Filbert with another contorted specimen limits your options, but the contorted Canadian hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis) and the contorted willow (Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’) would both be options. If you are open to options that do not have a contorted growth habit, a witchhazel might be a good replacement. As a Kentucky gardener there might be other choices for your zone that I am not familiar with. You might check with a local university that has a horticulture program for more options, or just visit your local garden center to see what they suggest.