Pussy willow Pruning info

Discussion in 'Gardening Discussions' started by Ryn, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. Ryn

    Ryn Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi to all from Germany!
    There's a small pussy willow tree since last year in my garden. Being an amateur gardener, I ain't sure about the pruning process of the willow. I did research your forum and internet before posting my question here. But couldn't find what I'm looking for.
    Attached are the pictures of my willow with their catkins. I understand the plant has to be pruned early spring... But is it the right time to do that.. or they still have a blooming stage?
    If not, then can I prune it now along the hanging branches?

    Thank you very much for your time and reply in advance.

    LG,
    The amateur gardener!
     

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  2. Sian in Belgium

    Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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    Hello @Ryn , and welcome to the forum, from a very cold and wet Belgium.

    I think that what you have there is a young Kilmarnock willow. It helps to know what it is - a weeping willow, that is grafted onto an upright stem.

    You don’t prune for a month or so, just sit back and enjoy the catkins as they emerge. Once the leaf buds are opening, then you can cut back any stems that are too long. To be honest, I tend to trim mine in late summer/autumn, as then I know which stems are too long, and sweeping the ground.

    Here’s what your young willow will look like in a few years’ time..
    271E6012-E758-4846-A143-11B3F642C3F0.jpeg
    apologies for the poor photo! you can see that your willow is a good few weeks ahead of mine :smile:
    I’ve underplanted mine with lavender, although I didn’t realise how wide the canopy would get so quickly. The tree was about the same size as yours 8 years ago....
     
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    • Palustris

      Palustris Total Gardener

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      Willows flower (catkins) on wood produced during the previous summer, so pruning is normally done once the flowers have finished, as Sian advises.
       
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      • Ryn

        Ryn Apprentice Gardener

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        Hi Sian, thank you very much for your response. And great to know the specific variety which the plant belongs to. It would be of great help.

        And OMG... You have one big Willow canopy.. and it's hard to believe that my willow will turn to be so in 8 years time... So here comes my next question. Attached is picture of my small garden. The willow stands near the fenced corner near the Rodendendron and Salix Hakuro Nishiki... I expect the Salix to grow upright in future.. and so to compensate the other half, I want the willow to grow taller and not wider like yours... If so what should I do...

        Thank you very much for your time.

        LG,
        Ryn
         

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      • Ryn

        Ryn Apprentice Gardener

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        Hallo Palustris, thank you for your reply.
         
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        • Sian in Belgium

          Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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          Don’t worry!

          I have pruned my willow fairly lightly, and so allowed it to spread out. It is also in need of a stronger prune this year...

          So, once the stems are sprouting a little (so I can see which have died, and need to be removed) I will prune out the three Ds - Dead, Damaged, Diseased.
          Once I have done that , I will see what is left, and then prune a little more for shape. I can choose whether I want a wide, or narrow canopy, and cut accordingly.

          There is a debate over when to prune. In the winter is best for the tree, but it takes off the catkins, and it’s hard to see what branches are dead, when it is all dormant.

          But now you know what sort of willow you have, you will be able to search more effectively for pruning advice, and growth predictions!
           
        • Ryn

          Ryn Apprentice Gardener

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          Thank you very much Sian... That is very helpful. Sure will do what's best for my plant.
           
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