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My mother has always wanted a weeping willow and we have a nice spot that won't hold water, but the majority of run-off water from the yard flows past it. So I bought her one and planted it. I babied it for her all summer. It did great. Then fall rolls around and deer decided it would be the perfect tree to rub it's velvet off on. It ended up taking the bark off all the way around and about 2' up and down. It stayed green, but I didn't have much hope. I figured it might have some cambium layer intact and had just had the outer bark removed. Over the winter, we got some snow and it bent the tree pretty much to the ground. It was completely dead by the spring.

So I bought her a new one for her birthday in March last year. As an interesting side note, I noticed a couple of little growths on the lower, undamaged, portion of the trunk. I cut of the dead top and when I took it out of the ground, I popped it in the pot the other came out of. I set it in the water puddle formed by the AC unit and it has grown an almost 6' tall whip over last summer and part of this summer. I've since planted it at the river.

I planted the new one and caged it to prevent deer from getting at it. It had a thick bamboo stake, so I left it there and made sure the ties weren't cutting into the bark. After a little over a year I decided to remove the stake the other day, because I know it's better for trees to sway and build trunk and root strength. Also, I have a little apple tree that needed it. However, it got very windy that day and I noticed the tree was bending a lot. Now I notice when I go over there, that while it isn't leaning on it, the tree will be touching different sides of the cage like the wind blew it from one side to the other.

What I want to know is whether or not I should restake it, giving it the ability to sway, but not lean more than 6-8" either way. That should let the trunk build strength, but not bend to the ground if it gets snow or heavy ice on it. Thanks for the help. I just don't want to loose another one after babying it for two summers. Thanks.

Here are some pictures of it, you can see the amount of lean I'm concerned about. It was straight up with the stake:

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  • How is your willow doing? – VividD Nov 15 '17 at 21:55
  • @VividD It's doing just fine. I put some heavier stakes in and tied it at 3-points. However, I tied it where it can sway about 16 inches in any direction. This prevents it from being bowed to the ground. It also allowed swaying, which caused cracking in the bark, but as it grows and thickens it gets firmer and firmer. For the last year or so, I probably could have taken the strings off, but they aren't hurting anything, so I leave them. They aren't necessary anymore. The diameter is about double what it is in this pic. I'll try to post an updated picture. – Dalton Nov 17 '17 at 13:12
  • Very cool! I am truly glad! It looks it is going to be a healthy, beautiful tree. – VividD Nov 17 '17 at 13:54
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Yes, secure it with soft rubber like ties at three points which are attached to stakes in the ground.

  • Bicycle inner tubes work well for a soft tie.
  • stakes can be wood or metal or plastic but should be put in at an angle away from the tree
  • this link from society of arborists provides excessive detail
  • remove the stakes after a year
  • sure hope you planted the willow far, far away from everything. They drop leaves, branches frequently.

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