How to Prune Sitka Willow


The sitka willow is a large shrub found in regions from southern Alaska to southwestern Oregon. Used to make nets and baskets, sitka willow bark is also used for erosion control along stream and river banks. The sitka willow can grow up to 25 feet tall and has leaves that range from 2 to 5 inches long with sharply-pointed ends. The sitka willow is found growing near wetlands, lake shores, and forest edges. This willow prefers an overly moist planting site and full sun.

Step 1

Prune the sitka willow in fall after the leaves have fallen. This ensures hardy and abundant growth the following growing season.

Step 2

Remove the top of the sitka willow with pruning shears, and prune to the terminal bud, which is the main area of growth. Prune all side or lateral branches that are old and gnarled. The goal is to produce one strong shoot leader.

Step 3

Cut all broken or diseased branch by removing the entire branch. Remove all insect-infected and diseased stems or shoots to prevent infection of the willow.

Step 4

Prune to one main shoot and remove all weak and thin branches from young sitkas. This will free up essential nutrients to the rest of the willow. Shoots arising from the root base of the willow, or suckers, should be removed as soon as they are noticeable.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear protective gardening gloves when using pruning shears.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • Sitka Willow Plant Guide: USDA
Keywords: sitka willow, pruning sitka willow, cutting sitka willow

About this Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on and Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.