The Q&A Archives: Pruning And Care

Question: Late last spring, I planted a Dappled Willow (Salix integra "Hakuro Nishiki"). I fertilized it and kept it watered well. It has thrived as far as looking healthy. It was only about 12" tall when planted. My question is regarding the trunk vs the foliage. The branches are all shooting from one spot at the base (in the ground). They have spread out like a fan, and are approximately 3 feet long, but there is basically no main trunk showing. It is now fall, and they remain healthy looking, but I don't know if I should prune back the branches since there is no trunk showing, or should I leave it alone?

Answer: This small willow is actually a shrub type rather than a typical tree type, so it is usually multistemmed. It is often used in a flower or shrub border and can be trimmed back in the spring if needed to control its size or spread and (if necessary) to remove any winter damage. Trimming it will likely stimulate additional branching and cause it to grow denser as well.

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