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What is this tree and what is happening?!?!

We have this tree where I work and I have been tasked with trying to revive it.  It looks to me like someone did a really bad pruning job and now it is growing from the base of the trunk.  Please help


  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 10,441
    It's a salix (willow) and someone forgot to water it after planting by the looks of it. The planting around it looks unusual though. Is it supposed to be a damp area or part of an urban surface water drainage management system?

    The top looks pretty dead but they're tough trees hence the regrowth from the roots. Personally I'd let it sort itself out until it gets established again and maybe use the dead wood to support a climbing plant like a clemitis or honeysuckle, depending on what would suit the soil conditions. Once you have some strong regrowth you could look at tidying it up.

    If you can keep your head, while those around you are losing theirs, you may not have grasped the seriousness of the situation.
  • The bed itself has irrigation that comes from our collected rain water fed from a cistern.  The planting arrangement was decided on by the owners based on aesthetics alone.  It does not serve any purpose other than that. Apparently late last year one of our maintenance guys went on a pruning rampage on these trees and they did not come back this year.  Is there a product you could recommend to help it grow?
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,417
    The top won't regrow but you could train another shoot as a leading shoot if you want a tree. It's possible that this was a grafted tree, a fancy willow of some sort and the grafted part has died, leaving a flourishing rootstock

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • [Glen][Glen] Posts: 76
    edited August 2018
    Willows are normally found by water.  In the last century willow branches were harvested seasonally to make baskets and roofs, so they can survive heavier pruning:

    Surely the OP's dead-looking top is more likely to have been caused by a long dry spell than by last year's pruning? Maybe it will show signs of life if soaked daily for a week or so, but it might be out-competed by the newer lower branches?

    Image from:
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,009
    I think Nut's right - a grafted willow that has failed after bad pruning or bad watering or maybe just a bad graft.   The root stock is clearly happy and will take over if allowed to.  Best to dig it out and re-plant with whatever the original was.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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