How to Trim Weeping Willow Trees

Overview

Weeping willows (Salix spp.) have long, drooping branches with fine textured leaves. They grow fast and reach 35 to 45 feet tall and wide within a few years. Weeping willows have a natural arching form and need little trimming to maintain their shape. Long limbs need to be shortened if they block walkways or driveways, and diseased and damaged limbs need to be removed to maintain the health of the tree. Trimming them is a relatively simple process.

Step 1

Trim weeping willow trees in late spring to early summer to reduce the amount of sap produced by the pruning cuts. Use hand pruners to cut limbs up to ½ inch in diameter and lopping shears to cut larger limbs. Cut limbs at a 30-degree angle at a bud, or a joint.

Step 2

Shorten limbs that touch the ground or interfere with walkways or driveways, using hand pruners or lopping shears.

Step 3

Remove limbs that cross or rub each other, or that are damaged, diseased or dead. Cracks in the bark, oozing lesions, cankers, and dying foliage are symptoms of diseased limbs.

Step 4

Prune limbs that are growing upward on grafted trees. Do not prune upward growth on trees that are not grafted.

Step 5

Pinch or rub off lateral growth on the trunk. Use hand pruners to remove suckers from the base of the trunk.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not cut into or below the graft of a grafted tree. The graft is a visible swelling or knot where a less hardy variety was joined to a hardier variety for better growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruners
  • Lopping shears

References

  • Kansas State Research and Extension: Pruning Weeping Trees and Shrubs

Who Can Help

  • North Carolina State University: Pruning Basics
  • University of Georgia: Basic Principles of Pruning Woody Plants
Keywords: trim weeping willow trees, trim weeping willows, prune weeping willows, trim salix spp., prune salix spp.

About this Author

Melody Lee worked as a newspaper reporter, copywriter and editor for 5 years. In addition, she has edited magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design and is a Florida master gardener. She has more than 25 years of gardening experience, which includes working at nurseries and greenhouses.