The narrowleaf willow is a shrub found in the northern great plains. Used for stream-bank and lake-shore stabilization, the narrowleaf also provides shelter for wildlife such as birds and deer. The narrowleaf willow can grow up to 20 feet high and has dark red to brown branches. The green leaves are two to five inches long with narrow pointed ends. Narrowleaf willow is found growing along streams, rivers and shorelines, and prefers sandy and moist soil.
Prune the narrowleaf willow in autumn after the leaves fall. This will help to stimulate more growth for the next season.
Cut the top of the narrowleaf willow using pruning shears, and prune the terminal bud, which is the top end of the stem and main area of growth. Prune all side branches that are twisted and old. The goal is to produce one long, straight stem.
Prune a broken or gnarled branch by removing the entire branch. Remove all diseased branches to avoid contaminating the rest of the plant.
For young narrowleaf willows, prune to one central stem, keeping two to four branches on either side of the plant. This will free up nutrients for the rest of the willow and allow for strong growth.