The Q&A Archives: Pruning Kilmarnock Willow

Question: I have a 5 ft Kilmarnock Willow that unfortunately had to be dug up and replanted in the Garden, the replanting was done immediately after being taken out of the ground, however the tree branches has all died although new stems have started to grow from the tree.

How and when do i prune the tree?, and how far do i cut back, what i don't want to do is cut so far back that the tree looses all of the overhanging branches

Please help?? as this tree is the centre piece to my lawn

Answer: The dieback would be the tree's natural response to moisture stress due to its being dug and losing roots. It tries to restore a balance between top growth and the roots' ability to take up moisture. Remove any dead branches as soon as you see them, cutting back to live wood. The tree should resprout from the top or as high up the tree as the wood remains alive during the coming growing season. If sprouts begin to grow on the trunk lower down than you would like, rub them off with your hand while they are still small. Also promptly remove any shoots coming from the ground. If after removing dead branches, the remaining top growth is very lopsided, you could also trim a bit now to even things up, this will also help restore the balance between top and roots. When pruning, try to cut just outside or past a bud pointing in the direction you would like to direct the new growth. Keep in mind that pruning will encourage branching beginning approximately where you have cut. Assuming that the portion of the tree above the graft is still alive, it should regrow fairly quickly. Good luck with your tree.

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