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I pruned the main branch of my (7') weeping willow tree last year too low (I'm guessing) and now the main branch is about 3-5" off center. The tree is now about 12-14' high.

Is this a problem? If so, how do I correct it?

the photo is slanted. Tilt your head to the right to view. The highest top right branch is the one growing off-canter

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Normally willows grow so much that three inches won't be noticed but a picture would help. –  kevinsky Sep 10 '12 at 18:15
    
Photo would be very useful, as kevinsky says, even just to ID which variety of weeping willow. –  Bamboo Sep 10 '12 at 20:58
    
I will try and get a photo up. New to stackexchange, so please give me a moment.... thanks. –  2Bleu - zone 7b Sep 12 '12 at 22:24
    
Can someone pls tell me how to post a photo? Thanks –  2Bleu - zone 7b Sep 20 '12 at 15:27
    
@2Bleu-zone7b try it now, you should have enough rep to upload it –  wax eagle Sep 20 '12 at 16:23

1 Answer 1

Now that there is a photo to work from I feel confident that this is not a problem. Yes, it probably would have been better to leave a leader but with the fast growth willows have one branch will end up becoming the new leader. I think one of the side branches is already tending upwards. It just needs a little help. See here for corrective pruning practices which include

replace it by splinting an upper lateral on the highest scaffold to a vertical position. Prune all laterals immediately below the new leader. Use wood or flexible wire splints, removing them after one growing season.

In general you should follow these points with weeping willows (Salix babylonica):

  • prune young trees in late winter to encourage a strong growth habit. They grow wide and spread with many arching branches and multiple trunks. Since the wood is weak, breaking and splitting damages the tree at the weakest points
  • remove V-shaped crotches where limbs and trunk fork as these are the weakest points
  • select a central stem for the tree's leader and remove any competing vertical growth.

Something else to keep in mind is that weeping willows get quite large (20–25 m or 66–82 ft). They have brittle wood and drop branches all the time. This is not a plant you want close to your house or near anything that can be damaged by something large and heavy falling on it.

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@kevinsy: thank you so much for the very helpful information. :) –  2Bleu - zone 7b Oct 7 '12 at 3:16

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