If you're looking for a shade tree for your property, and you have the space for a large tree, then a weeping willow is an excellent choice for you. This tree provides plenty of shade and also adds an attractive feature to your landscape. Additionally, it's a fast-growing tree, so you won't be waiting too long before you have a fantastic tree to throw shade on your property. Like any tree, a weeping willow has its own needs when it comes to care and maintenance, and if you want to keep a willow healthy on your property, you'll need to know what they are. Take a look at some tips that will help you care for your weeping willow.
Keep Weeds and Suckers at Bay
It's important to keep the area around your weeping willow's trunk clear of weeds. Weeds can trap and suck up moisture around the base of the trunk, preventing your tree from getting the liquid that it needs to stay hydrated and healthy. This is particularly dangerous to a young weeping willow. Weeds can also spread fungal growth that can jeopardize the health of your tree. Pull weeds up by hand instead of using a weed whacker, so that you don't accidentally damage the tree's roots.
While you're weeding, keep an eye peeled for suckers. These are odd branches that sprout and grow from the base or roots of the tree. As the name suggests, these odd branches suck energy and nutrients out of the tree and away from the branches at the top of the tree. It's important to remove them with pruning shears if you see them. You can often prevent suckers from forming by keeping your tree healthy and taking care not to over-prune healthy branches.
Don't Procrastinate Raking Leaves in the Fall
Raking leaves can seem like a thankless chore, especially in the fall when a lot of leaves are falling at once. But keeping your yard free of leaves actually serves an important purpose for the health of your tree.
Fallen leaves can contain the fungal spore that causes willow blight, an infection that can kill your tree if not treated properly. Spores in leaves that are left on the ground in fall have all winter to take hold in your weeping willow, and you'll have a very sick tree come springtime.
Prune on Schedule
Pruning is particularly important when your willow tree is young. The tree will need to be shaped properly so that the branches grow in a way that's healthy for the tree and that works for the location that your tree is growing in. If you don't prune properly when the tree is young, then you'll end up having to do it when the tree is mature and more difficult to prune.
You will want to prune your weeping willow in the wintertime when the tree is dormant. This is true for many trees, but it's even more important with the weeping willow. Weeping willows will bleed sap heavily while they're actively growing, so pruning before the tree is dormant is a messy business.
Shaping a young tree requires some precision. You'll need to choose a tall stem that's upright as the central leader, but other stems that grow upright instead of outward should be trimmed. You'll also need to thin out crowded branches, remove broken branches, and get rid of branches that grow on the lower part of the tree. Fortunately, mature trees require far less pruning than young trees, so your willow will become lower maintenance as it ages.
If you're at all unsure of your ability to prune your weeping willow properly, or if you lack the correct tools for the job, your best bet is to hire a tree service like Smitty's Tree Service Inc to do it for you. With a tree that grows as large as a weeping willow, it's smart to have it checked out by a tree care professional regularly to make sure that it's healthy and that you're caring for it properly. If you give your weeping willow the care it needs, you'll have a beautiful shade tree that will last a lifetime.