Last summer I planted a weeping willow tree. The very top branch died during
transport from wind in the car. This spring the bottom part has leafed out,
but the top half of the tree appears dead. Should I just dig the tree up or
should I prune out the dead part and hope the tree will make a new top?
Get out your pruning shears and cut off some fairly hefty twigs-- pencil
size or so --and take a good look at them. Are the buds moist inside once
you peel off the bud scale? Is there a green layer under the bark? If so,
that part of the tree is still alive. If not, prune back till you get to
In my experience, weeping willows are pretty hardy trees-- I've seen
half the tree taken out by a storm, and it pops right back. My folks planted a
weeping willow in a soggy spot in our backyard by cutting a branch about
an inch in diameter from a friend's tree, stripping off most of the side
branches, and pounding the branch upright into the soggy spot. It functioned
as a living sump pump in that spot for many years... probably about 40, and
it took me almost four days to take that tree out after lightning fried it--
and the lightning did about half of the demolition work for me. <g>
Make sure you've got enough room for the tree when it's fully grown, or
you're going to be doing lots of pruning, as well as lots of picking up
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