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Willow tree

It looks like the branches were twisted around each other early on. Should I be continuing this? If so , any tips? The branches are just laying on the floor.  Should I be cutting them and if so where to and when? Thanks!


  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 2,037
    Is it growing near to pipes?
  • There is a gas pipe around underneath it somewhere yes... why?
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 2,037
    Thet do like to seek out water in pipes 
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,128
    How big is your garden?
    Willow trees grow very large, very fast and will take up a huge amount of water, completely dominating the average back garden.If you haven't got room for a lake, or at least a very large pond then I would suggest you get it out before it becomes impossible without a digger.
    If you do decide to keep it, then a lot of pruning will be required. Anything you cut off will regrow and trimming the ends means you will get a bunch of shoots instead of a single one.
    It doesn't look like one tree, but a clump, as if someone stuck a bunch of willow twigs in the ground and just left them. They root very easily.
    There looks to be one stem that is larger than all the others, but can't see enough from one pic whether it goes up straight. If it doesn't, then it's not worth keeping - you want a tree that will look good as a winter silhouette too, and that means a single straight stem, tall enough to hold the trailing branches higher above the ground. That means cutting away every other stem at ground level, then removing the lower side branches on the main trunk till you have a suitable  clear height, before allowing it to fork.
    I don't think they are very old, as not very tall yet, so you would need to do it over several years. Mature height will require a long ladder! 
    You will be able to see better once the leaves have fallen, but to be honest it looks likely to be a bit of a mess and it would be better just to remove it.
    If you really want to have a willow tree and have the space, then cut off some nice strong  and straight shoots  first and stick them in a bucket of water. When you can see strong roots developing, choose a couple of good ones to pot up and then ditch all the rest and all the original clump. You will need a suitable place to plant the better one, well away from gas pipes, water pipes, house foundations and neighbours' gardens!

  • Thanks for the comprehensive reply. I was sort of hoping it would be some kind of smaller willow not the kind that end up enormous next to lakes! But wishful thinking, seems a strange choice to have been put where it is. 
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 2,037
    @Buttercupdays Thankyou for your full reply for @sophie.e.miller. I was unable to advise any further but did know that willow roots will damage drains and pipes to get to water. Some years ago the roots of a Whitebeam Sorbus Aria damaged a pipe to our house the first we knew was when water was backing up inside. I think of willows growing next to rivers not a tree for a garden unless it is very big. 
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 2,186
    Neighbours drains are also something to think about as roots travel a long way and the bill for repairing them if damaged could cost dearly if it's proven that the willow is to blame. 
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,569
    that looks like a real Weeping Willow of river banks to me, maybe cut down more than once. Definitely not one for most gardens. I have a row of 3 planted by the original owner of the house. 10 foot from the road. If we weren't forever cutting them back they'd be over the road and into the neighbour's garden
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