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Pruning Salix Caprea Kilmarnock

I planted this Salix too close to a fence and it has only grown one side. I've now moved it into more space last autumn and it has still got life, but needs attention. Shall I remove the dead branches underneath the greenish canopy, now or later? And the same for the long branches not in green leaf? And how do I stimulate growth on the other side? I keep watering it and have mulched it in spring. I guess it may take some time to get more even. Advice welcome.


  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    If the branches are dead you won't do any harm by cutting them out.  From my experience, these trees grow like mad so once it gets air and sun on all sides it should be fine. They do need plenty of water.
  • OK thanks. For the stems which are only green on the upper parts should I cut those back to the nearest leaf bud?
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    Since I've known them grow so much, the branches have touched the soil and the rooted in, it's unlikely that you will do much damage. I would remove all the really dead wood then assess the shape. It looks congested at the top at the moment.  Once the dead stuff has gone you will be able work out what else to do. It might be good to open the top up a bit so you might consider cutting some hard back, being careful not to remove the crown.  I think that these trees are grafted on to the upright stem. If in doubt, cutting to leaf joint would be ok as it is possible to cut more away later. If you post another picture after taking away the dead branches it would be easier to advise.
  • Thanks so much Joy. I'll have a go and post again.
  • OK I'll be brave and pruning. Thanks.
  • Yes - will do. Silly question, do I just post to the thread or can I select Joy & Hexagon only. Bit new to this
  • Hi all - thanks for this thread, I was just looking for some advice on pruning my new Salix Kilmarnock - it arrived in early June this year and is currently very thin with only three branches coming from the graft - it sounds like I can just do a hard prune and this will encourage bushier growth.

    My question then is what's the best time of year for this level of pruning?
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,574
    Kilmarnock willows tend to be short lived in my experience and need a great deal of water to keep them green.   The best time to prune any deciduous tree or shrub is when it's dormant so between leaf drop in autumn and buds showing in spring.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Well, as you can see I'm no expert on this but if it's new I would suggest not to hard prune yet, and allow it to root in. It will grow fast. I would prune next year to shape it.
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