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Pruning Kilmarnock Willow

I have a Kilmarnock Willow tree and would like some advice  on when and how to prune it please.


  • Hi, CA.....nothing special about pruning Kilmarnock Willow really. Prune mid- to late spring, after flowering and once the risk of frost has passed.

    Or, put another way, prune as code 1 if it were a clematis. 

  • I received a Kilmarnock willow in a pot for Mother's Day and I'd like to transplant it to an island bed in the garden. It has a few catkins but no leaves yet. The instruction label says to prune it evenly to 10 -15 cms after catkins have flowered. Is this a bit harsh or is it the norm? 

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,298

    That does sound a bit harsh, ChrissyAnn.  You can get Kilmarnock willow grafted onto a stem as a standard, when it "weeps" from the top of the stem - or just as a ground-hugging shrub.  The standard, weeping sort really doesn't want pruning, unless it touches the ground; its beauty is in its long, weeping branches, especially when they are covered in catkins.  If you give it a haircut it tends to look a bit naff, frankly...  The only time I'd prune it is if it suffers dieback.  Sometimes they get a fungal condition called anthracnose (sounds like a joke, but it does exist, honestly!), which causes shoots to go black, and these need cutting out and burning.

    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • Thanks Liriodendron, I've taken your advice ????

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