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How to Care for Dappled Willow Trees

The dappled willow tree is a small, ornamental tree that produces star-shaped pink blossoms in the spring. As the blossoms age, they transform into a white color. During the winter months the stems of the tree turn a bright red providing a vibrant burst of color to any winter garden. The dappled willow grows relatively fast and will add 12 to 18 inches in height per year. If the tree is kept trimmed back, it grows as an expansive shrub rather than a tree.

Water the dappled willow approximately twice per week until the soil is moist but not soggy. The tree requires plenty of water but will tolerate short periods of dry weather. Do not allow the roots to get soggy, as root rot will develop.

Sprinkle an all-purpose granular fertilizer over the ground near the dappled willow in early spring. Use the amount of fertilizer specified on the product packaging. Water the ground after application to soak the fertilizer into the soil.

Prune the dappled willow in early winter or early spring to remove dead branches and encourage growth. Cut off all dead and broken branches using loppers or a hand saw approximately 1/2 inch from the trunk of the tree. Then remove 30 percent of the tallest growing branches to maintain the size of the tree. Pruning encourages additional budding in the spring and will result in additional red stems during the next winter season.

Inspect the tree regularly for signs of pests or diseases. Prune off any leaves or branches with mold or spots, or that show signs of pests. Apply a liquid insecticide spray to the affected areas of the plant that show signs of pests such as holes and visible bugs. Apply a liquid fungicide to areas that develop mold.

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