Dappled Willow Pruning

HumbleHutchJune 29, 2013

Hello! I am so excited to be joining this community! This is my first year of gardening and I'm hooked! :-) I am having some problems, however, and although Ive come across many posts that are similar to my questions I still havent found what I'm looking for. I bought 3 dappled willows from our local nursery and have planted 2. I thought they must have gone into shock because they immediately turned brown and looked terrible while the one remaining in the pot still looked great. I gave it plenty of water, and i pruned it just a bit (im guessing that was bad) and now they are looking much better with lots of new growth. Now heres my issue. They still look very twiggy. All the growth is at the bottom and the tops are just bare twigs ( picture included). Can AND should i cut these off? Also, is it ok to trim the bad looking spots as often as i want this year? I want them to grow fast and be nice and full so i need to know how to do that from the place im at now. Thank you so much for any help you can provide! Amber :-)

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Something happened to it, it's not supposed to die down like that. You would certainly want to cut the dead parts off at this point.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 2:08PM
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Thank you for responding. Its really odd because right before the new growth started to appear the entire thing was twiggy (like the top is now) with the exception of some random brown leaves. The other one i planted looks very similar, but the twigs without leaves arent as long. Strange. So once i cut these off is it ok to continue to randomly prune (i want it to grow back thick) or is that something you only do once or twice a year? I cant help it, but i really enjoy pruning. Its relaxing:-)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 5:09PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey ... welcome ...

first.... i see no white... whats dappled about it???

second.. dead wood is ALWAYS cut out... no need to ask.. nor worry ...

third.. hit link.. and look at the size ... your plant is 8 to 12 feet too close to the house ... move it in fall ...

especially with that french drain there.. and a willow .... it will fill that pipe in.. in no time ...

with no WWW back in the day... i learned the spacing issue the hard way ... never forget.. foundation plants are planted to HIDE the foundation... NOT ON THE FOUNDATION ...

finally.. its ALIVE... who cares what it looks like... you win...


    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 7:13PM
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planted a few of these this spring and they did well. but there are all individual shoots.. do I prune now (fall) for it to branch out next yr? or wait til spring..? TY

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 7:02AM
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A few thoughts here, as I have three gigantic dappled willows and loads of experience with them.

I wonder why there is no white dappled on the leaves, too. That's a willow, but keep an eye on it come springtime. It should put out new growth that's green, white and pink. But in one of my photos, the foliage is all green, so yeah...there is a point in the season where they're pretty generic looking.

Your plant is fine. Cut off the dead. And then TRANSPLANT it further away from the foundation. You cannot imagine how big they get. Take it out ten feet if you can, I am not kidding.

For example, my three were the same size as yours when I bought them at a plant sale five years ago. They got crispy and brown in the containers when I didn't plant them soon enough. They limped along for a season. Now I have this in the spring.

And THAT was cut back by at least four feet before it leafed out. I have them cut back by 4-5 feet every spring. They easily grow to 10-ft across while you're not looking. You really must move it and it must have room to spread or you will constantly be hacking away at it. Here is another one, seen at the right in the photo. I had sawed this one down to the ground a year earlier. Note that it's green. The dappled color comes about amonth later in spring:

See my point?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 6:41PM
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I want to add -- always prune these in early spring just before they leaf out, when the leaf buds are swollen. Cut them back hard after they're established. Cut off all that dead now though. It will never regenerate.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 6:42PM
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I planted two last fall that are doing well, but I think I'll want more space between them. Would you move them now or wait until late winter or spring?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Some people would argue with me, but I think if you're in Zone 6, you can move them now, and I mean ASAP. They bloom in spring, so fall would be the time to transplant them. September would have been better, but I'll be they do fine. Water them really well and mulch.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 7:59PM
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IanW Zone 5 Ont. Can.

I agree with MulchMama....they are tough and very hardy ...I would move them now, you still have time.....

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 12:34AM
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