Ask a Question forum: Training a Dappled willow into a tree

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Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
Jul 29, 2014 5:07 PM CST
I picked up a dappled willow off the junk shelf at Lowe's today for $3. I really can't stand them as shrubs/bushes. But I love them when they are trained into a tree. Actually I am kind of ashamed to admit I like it when they are shaped into a ball, kind of like a lollipop. It seems so unnatural but yet something about it is appealing to me.

So....I thought hey, maybe I could make this into a tree. I mean for $3 it is worth a try. So I know I can search the internet to find out how to try this. But I thought I would ask here first. Here I can get opinions with instructions!

I know there is a tree/shrub forum. But it doesn't seem to get much traffic. But if this thread needs to be moved to there I'm okay with that.

Here it is:
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[Last edited by jvdubb - Jul 29, 2014 5:08 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #669413 (1)
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Jul 29, 2014 5:19 PM CST
Prune out all but the best trunk and cut back the limbs by about 1/3rd.
Our if the trunks are separate plants you can separate them into separate containers, and prune as above.

Next year you do more pruning to start shaping it into the form you like.
It can be loosely trimmed to arch over into a weeping form, or trimmed into a more formal topiary ball. You can trim throughout the season to maintain the size and shape you want.
Pruning should be done in late fall or early spring.

I find that this willow grows rapidly in the growing season.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Jul 29, 2014 5:21 PM CST
Thanks Lynn! I haven't dug into it yet but I was thinking I might be able to get three main stems out of it to try!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jul 29, 2014 5:25 PM CST
If you can, take photo from beginning to end. Would make a great tutorial for others. Big Grin
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Jul 29, 2014 5:55 PM CST
I got lucky! Three stems were separate under the soil!

Potted each up induvidually and trimmed back. One isn't so great. So we'll see how it turns out. Now sit back and be patient. I think I will heel in the containers for winter.


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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jul 29, 2014 6:00 PM CST
Hurray! Great job Jennifer. And even better idea to heal them in for this coming winter, especially in your zone 6 winters.
Might even keep them in light shade for the rest of summer. Not sure what you weather is like this time of year?
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Jul 29, 2014 6:08 PM CST
They'll stay in the ghetto for the rest of the season until I heel the pots in for winter. It gets indirect bright sun part of the day.

Our summer has been mild and cool. I love it
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jul 29, 2014 7:44 PM CST
Sounds perfect.
Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry
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LysmachiaMoon
Jul 30, 2014 6:09 AM CST
I am so envious!! I like these in tree form/standards too. Now I'm heading over to Lowes to see if they have any for $3. THANKS to everyone for the advice/info....I'll be trying this too if I get lucky.
The end is nothing, the journey is all.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Jul 30, 2014 7:02 AM CST
@LysmachiaMoon even if you can't get one at $3 they had some ones not on the junk shelf that were only $7
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
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chelle
Jul 30, 2014 4:57 PM CST
There were a bunch at Home Depot as well. I'm tempted now to go back and get one! I saw the tree form at a nursery for over a hundred bucks!! I'm not going that route, for sure. Whistling

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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 30, 2014 5:18 PM CST
Wow, that seems like it would be worth the work to grow and train one. I haven't done a standard like that for years, but I think as soon as it has made some more leaves, or maybe when it loses its leaves in the fall, you should prune each one again so there is only one leader.

Too bad they nipped off the single leaders before you got those babies, huh. Sad
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jul 30, 2014 5:24 PM CST
In my experience the trunk on mine continued to grow in height. It was just a very tiny thing when I got it. All I did is prune anything that started to grow on the tiny trunk, and thin some of the branches from the growth from the fork of the tree up.
I'll try to get some photos for you.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Nov 6, 2014 8:01 AM CST
I gave one to my mom but the two I have are doing great! Since they are tiny I just sunk their pots for the winter. I'll post pics in a minute.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Nov 6, 2014 8:25 AM CST
Thumb of 2014-11-06/jvdubb/e26f98


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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 6, 2014 9:29 AM CST
They look great, Jennifer.

I'd definitely mulch over the pots after they lose their leaves, just to retain moisture and keep the pots from heaving out of the ground.

Also, while they are dormant is another opportunity for pruning. But you do have really nice shapes going on those already.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Nov 6, 2014 9:38 AM CST
Thanks Elaine! I was pleased with the shape. I just got lucky.

Thank you for the tip about mulching!

@abhege post a picture of yours!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Nov 6, 2014 9:39 AM CST
They are looking wonderful. I agree, the shapes are very nice. I also agree with Elaine's suggestion of mulching them for winter.
I look forward to seeing them in the spring, when they break dormancy.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Nov 6, 2014 12:08 PM CST
I am assuming I got the worst one, but I'm not sure. At any rate mine is looking great as well.
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Nov 6, 2014 12:14 PM CST
Arlene that looks great. And I see that you already have it nicely mulch and ready for winter.

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