Today was the official start of the gardening season. I completed my first official gardening “task”. And by task, I mean getting outside, freezing the ass off and performing some sort of physical labor. That task was pruning Salix ‘Hakuro Nishiki’. A shrub that I absolutely adore.
But first, allow myself … to introduce myself and what the plan of attack would be for this shrub.
With that in mind, here is what she looked like by the end of last summer.
As you can see below, the buds have just started to form on the branches so pruning Salix time is of the essence.
I didn’t take photos of the actual pruning of the Salix, as I basically cut all of the branches down to about 12-18 inches off of the ground. Even with some of the thicker branches (close to 2″ in diameter) I was able to cut these down using hand pruners and a little brute force.
I did my best, where possible, to cut right above a bud in hopes of having the newly chopped down branches leaf out in a well shaped manner. Honestly I don’t even know if it was necessary but we will see how it plays out.
After the severe pruning of the Salix ‘Hakuro Nishiki’, here is what she looked like.
A rather large hole in the garden right now, but I’m willing to put up with it knowing how quickly this shrub puts out growth each year.
All in all, the pruning took no more than 5 minutes with minimal effort. Now the waiting game begins.
Pruning Salix is only one of the many planned severe prunings I have planned for this spring. As always, I will be sure to track the results throughout the spring/summer/fall/winter.
A little over two years ago, I created a masterpiece post about Salix Hakuro Nishiki (Dappled Willow) and my new found love of this shrub. I was immediately taken by the variegation of the leaves with its mix of pink, white and green hues. Not to mention the appeal of it’s fast growth rate and love of wet soil.
At the time, I wondered aloud about how best to prune it and when. I had quickly realized it could wear out its welcome in it current location yet I enjoyed having something substantial in my relatively young garden. I also wanted to determine the best way to maximize the variegation and stem color. How was one to deal with such a life altering dilemma?
Fast forward to this past spring and I had yet to touch it.
And she looked damn good.
Upon closer inspection, I even had catkins growing for the first time. Small and delicate in nature and a nice added bonus to its spring appeal.
And that fantastic Salix Hakuro Nishiki leaf color was still in play as the spring progressed.
The sight of the back lit leaves with the late afternoon sun grabbed my eye every time I gazed out on to my deck.
But as you will see in the following pics, homegirl finally outgrew her spot.
So now the time has finally arrived to prune Salix Hakuro Nishiki back hard in late winter 2015. I’m thinking a severe pruning down to about a foot hoping that by season’s end, this willow will recover to a size of about 4′ x 4′.
I’m also hoping to continue to have the appealing red winter stems I’ve seen on this willow with the current season’s growth.