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How to Prune Weeping Trees

Just like the name implies, weeping trees have canopies that form a "weeping" appearance, with branches growing up from the trunk, then bending down toward the ground. There are many species, including weeping cherry, weeping willow, weeping blue Atlas cedar and weeping blue Alaskan cedar. All of them enhance the landscape because of their distinctive appearance. Pruning weeping trees is important because it improves the shape of the tree, keeps it healthy and promotes the circulation of sunlight and air.

Prune weeping trees in the winter, before spring growing begins. Pruning in the fall doesn't give new growth time to become hardy enough to survive the winter.

Pull up all shoots or sprouts that appear at the base of young weeping trees. These will grow straight up and not form a weeping shape, so it's better to pull them out of the ground as soon as you spot them.

Prune branches that touch the ground. Use pruning shears to cut next to one of the buds. This will shorten the length of the branch. You can also cut it at the joint it shares with the trunk.

Look through the tree's canopy for branches that are not weeping. Use a saw to cut unwanted branches just next to the collar, which is the swollen section where the branches meet the trunk. Make sure not to leave much of a stub.

Remove limbs that rub or cross each other. If one is wrapped around the other, remove the weaker of the two. If it appears they are both intertwined, trim off both.

Prune branches immediately if they appear to be damaged, diseased or broken. Not only are they ruining the look of the weeping tree, they may cause disease to spread to other branches.


Wear gloves when pruning weeping trees.

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