Willows are graceful and impressive trees. These trees are fast growing and can pack on size relatively quickly. Unfortunately, this feature also results in a weak, softer wood that is prone to decay and failure. This becomes a management challenge within the urban environment. Selective crown reduction is a technique that a skilled arborist can employ in order to remove weight and “sail” potential from the tree. Reducing wind load and weight creates longevity in these trees which are susceptible to defects. This should not be confused with the practice of topping which makes indiscriminate cuts in the main trucks, removing all branching growth, resulting in uncontrolled sprouting on top of decayed wood. Many species of trees will suffer an irreversible decline in health and structure due to topping.
An important aspect of crown reduction is regular maintenance to control re-srpouting by eliminating some of the new shoots and encouraging other parts to thrive. Much like the pruning of a healthy well maintained Apple tree, we can mange Willows in a similar fashion. This particular specimen has been pruned while dormant and is prepared for the upcoming growing season under our watchful eye.