Salix integra �Hakuro Nishiki� dwarf tree

sunflowermmhgOctober 22, 2012


I have a Salix integra �Hakuro Nishiki� dwarf willow tree and have a question on pruning it. I prune it every year and usually it is very full and looks very healthy...this year not so much. When I have pruned it in the past I never went too far into the center where the bigger branches are, but prune it well along the outer part. Each year I found myself trimming farther and farther away from the center due to the center branches becoming so large and I was afraid if I would cut too far into the bigger branches the tree would not produce new growth in spring.

I took some pics and well as you can see the center branches are very large and it was really stringy this yr.( not normal) I have begun to prune this yr. and was wondering how far in I can safely prune without doing damage and have a full tree next yr.? The biggest branches are probably around 2 inches in diameter.


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Sun, the pruning techniques you are using are not optimal. One should never leave stubs like that. The way to not leave stubs is to always and only prune back to a lateral branch/branchlet. If you want to get technical about it, it is also important that the lateral branch/branchlet be at least 1/3rd the diameter of that which is being removed.

I'm guessing that you are trying to "keep it in bounds" by what you have been doing. While I generally think it better to plant a plant that will grow to the size you actually want in any given spot, the "drop crotch" method I outlined above will at least reduce the size-temporarily-without leaving all kinds of stubs and other issues in the tree.

I know willows seem to rebound from just about any treatment thrown their way, but you are starting to see the end result of too many cycles of incorrect technique. The best I can offer is that you study up on pruning of trees. There's actually a right and a wrong way to this stuff!


    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 10:38PM
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It's not a dwarf tree, it's a shrub willow grafted onto an upright tree willow. So, that complicates how you can prune it. Were it a shrub, Hashiro Nashikii will accomodate being whacked off severely down to the nubbins once every few years and return with slender, lithe branches in all its glory. Between those sever renovations yes, you can whack a little off the branch tips, but not perpetually. That's what we do with ours. They can attain a height of ten feet and an equal spread. But since it's grafted onto a tree, that's not really an option. What Tom says, in tree form, other than opening up the canopy by taking out whole limbs down to the trunk, there isn't much of a choice but to let it attain it's potential spread. So, it should be situated where it can.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 11:37PM
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Thanks for the replies,

We planted this about 20ft from the house. The tips of the branches this yr were maybe a ft. away from touching the house meaning the shrub has become very large. Whether it be from my poor pruning methods or something else this is not the problem...I love how big it is. Anyone who sees it comments on how massive it is compared to any they have seen and the same is true for me as well. My problem is there are no new shoots from the trunk to about 4 ft out...that didn't seem normal so I was trying to help it grow shoots closer to the trunk. I have a yard full of willows...artic, corkscrew, dappled as well as several river birch and ash trees, birms full of plants, several flowers gardens and wisteria everywhere. I do alot of research on everything I have and any research I have done on this shrub has never showed it this size so I figured there is something wrong and it is often called "ornamental" obviously has optimal growing conditions. I prune alot of plants every yr. and I have always pruned this shrub the way you stated I should until this yr....everything is always full, beautiful and healthy so I know I am not that incompetent not sure why feel the need to defend myself. This particular shrub seems a bit a matter of fact I was told a couple of yr's ago by a nursery that this plant had a very short life span like maybe 8 yr's and we have had it 7 so I figured it was starting to reach that point especially after cutting some branches and seeing the center rotten and dark brown.
Anyway at this point will the area that I did prune produce new growth or did I damage that area permanently is the question?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:38AM
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Ok, I think you have answered your own question. The center of the tree is rotten, stained? This would be the graft area, but even it wasn't I imagine this explains why the display was 'stringy' this year. And, it has nothing to do with your pruning methods. If I'm reading this right, your issues are disease related. How would pruning the periphery of diseased tree help?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 5:19PM
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