The Q&A Archives: Canyon Blue Arctic Blue Leaf Willow

Question: This shrub is seeing it's 4th spring. The first three years it was very beautiful and grew well. This spring only about half of it has new leaves. The other branches have little nubs on them, but don't seem to be coming out. Some branches seem to be dead, some have a bit of green in them still. It's in sandy soil with black top soil mixed with some clay. It is in a mulched bed. It gets sun about 7-8 hours per day. This last winter was not a particularily harsh one. What can I do? Thanks.

Answer: If you're finding what you think are leaf buds that didn't open, your willow was healthy going into the winter season. Leaf buds are formed in the summer and are dormant until the following spring. It sounds as though your willow may have been hit by a cold snap early in the spring. Any buds that begin to swell and then experience cold weather can die. I'd do some pruning at this point. Remove anything that's obviously dead and cut back those branches that are showing new growth. This will force your willow into developing new stems and foliage, which will help it look full and healthy. Best wishes with your landscape!

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