A Guide To Pruning Weeping Willow Trees

Posted on: 27 October 2015

Weeping willow trees are known for their long, exotic tendrils that dance in the breeze and provide a canopy of shade in the summer. In order to keep these trees looking beautiful, it is essential that you give them the proper care. Willows are fairly low-maintenance, but regular pruning is recommended. Here's a look at why pruning is so important, and how to go about it in both younger and established trees.

The Benefits of Pruning

Your willow tree will continue to grow and may go on to live a healthy life without pruning, but if you put the time and effort into pruning, you can expect the following benefits:

  • Your tree will develop an attractive shape, rather than looking shaggy.
  • Your tree's growth rate may increase due to the removal of dead branches that are sucking resources away from the rest of the tree.
  • Your tree will be less susceptible to fungal infections, which tend to set in when dead branches accumulate and are not removed.

Pruning Young Weeping Willows

When your weeping willow is young and growing rapidly, it is wise to have it pruned about once per year by a certified arborist. The arborist will ensure a central leader – or main central branch – is established so that the tree grows into an attractive shape rather than developing several large, sprawling branches.  Dead branches will also be removed. The tendrils are generally left alone on younger willows, unless they have grown to the point that they are reaching the ground, since they are important for manufacturing the food the tree needs to grow.

Pruning Older Willow Trees

Once your tree is mature, you will still want to have it pruned annually, but the form that the pruning takes will be a bit different. Instead of removing major, new branches, your tree care expert will likely only remove dead growth. The tendrils will likely also be trimmed to keep the tree looking neat. Since the tree is larger and has more tendrils now, it can handle this. Mature willows also tend to send up suckers, which are secondary stems that emerge from the roots and push up through the ground. These will also be removed.

Whenever a willow is pruned, care must be taken to sanitize the equipment to prevent spreading diseases. The pruner must be careful to remove enough growth to maintain the tree's shape, but not so much that the tree's strength is threatened. Once you have a professional trim your willow a few times, you may be able to observe what they do and then begin doing the pruning yourself.

Contact a service like R. L. Elliott Enterprises, Inc. to learn more.


Keeping Your Trees Healthy

About a year ago, I realized that our front trees were starting to look a little funny. Some of the leaves were wilted, but we weren't anywhere near autumn. The bark on the trunk also seemed to be rotting away, which was frustrating and disappointing. Fortunately, a friend of mine told me to call a professional arborist for help. He came out, inspected the trees, and injected some special pesticides into the trunk. Within a few months, they started to look a lot better. Our arborist also trimmed our trees to reduce the weight load on the branches and to improve their shape. Check out this blog for information about tree trimming.