Cut hanging willow vigorously once a year - this is how it works

Cut hanging willow vigorously once a year - this is how it works

Cut hanging willow after flowering

The fluffy pussy willow are her most beautiful jewelry. For this reason, the time window for pruning a hanging willow opens in late spring, after the flowering period has ended.

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The starting shot for an annual cut is given in the third or fourth year. A young hanging willow should have time and leisure to develop in a healthy and vital way. From the fourth year at the earliest, regular pruning ensures that a shapely and blooming crown is maintained.

Cutting instructions explained step by step

A courageous cut back is the decisive factor for the decorative combination of arched, drooping branches and profuse abundance of flowers. Without a regular cut, numerous dead shoots accumulate in the crown of adult hanging willows within a few years. Layer by layer, new branches lay on top of each other and shade each other, so that the hanging willow becomes bald and old from the inside. With this cut, the hanging crown remains vital and flooded with light:

  • Best tools: pruning shears with bypass mechanism or folding saw with Japanese perforation
  • Cut back all shoots to 2 to 4 buds or leaves
  • Thin out dead shoots on astring

The correct distance to the nearest pair of leaves or buds is important for correct pruning. Use scissors or a saw so that you neither cut into one eye nor leave a long heel standing. The strong pruning causes a strong shoot with a growth rate of up to 50 centimeters per year. Young, overhanging rods will therefore not be long in coming.

Cut off wild shoots promptly

The special charm of a hanging willow is based on the finishing of a picturesque crown and a trunk as a vital wild support. However, the mat is not always content to support the growth of the hanging kitten crown. Rather, strong shoots sprout directly from the trunk.

With rapid growth, the cheeky wild shoots strive to overgrow the noble hanging crown in order to deny it access to light. You can put a stop to the bold goings-on by removing the branches as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can cut off a wild shoot just before the bark. Specimens that sprout from the root disc are torn off with a strong jerk.


The legendary harlequin willow (Salix integra 'Hakuro Nishiki') follows a different schedule in terms of pruning than a hanging willow (Salix caprea 'Pendula'). The focus here is on the colorful leaves, which make the gardener use scissors twice a year. A strong pruning in late winter paves the way for the picturesque budding. A light maintenance cut at the end of June refreshes the foliage again.