The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Powys, Wales Wal

My Twisted Willow has survived the onslaught of lots of caterpillars last year and then the cold winter. It is growing new leaves,,,,, but only on the trunk of the tree! The branches are bare and seem to have died. It has been like this for about 2 weeks. Should I just cut off the branches? Some are quite thick, will they need treating on the cut edge?
Also, the bark on the trunk has gone papery and is peeling off, this seemed to happen after the caterpillar invasion last year. Does this need any sort of treatment?




WELL!! I've never seen anything like this before! I think that you need to check the 'dead' branches to see if they really are dead, then cut it back hard - all of it! These trees will normally take hard pruning, and sprout from almost the base......But please don't blame me if it is an ex-willow later on!!!

13 Apr, 2010


It's an odd one, that's for sure Spritz!
I tried a couple of the thin branches today and they just snapped, that's when I decided to blog this for opinions on the rest. I have had it about 5 years, and last year it was the fullest it has ever been.

I wondered if the caterpillar invasion has anything to do with it? Although it did grow new leaves on the branches after they had munched the others last year.

13 Apr, 2010


If the new growth was very late in the season, it may be another casualty of the ferocious winter. Many normally hardy plants will suffer more than usual, if their new growth doesn't have a chance to harden off properly! We learned that with many trees in the winter of 2006-2007, here.

14 Apr, 2010


Thanks Tug, but the branches are the original branches, they are not new growth. It just seems weird, as the roots are obviously OK as producing leaves. But something has happened to the branches that they are not producing leaves. And it's what to do about it....

15 Apr, 2010


I'd still go for the prune hard back option...the only other one is to cut out the dead wood, shape it a bit, and see what happens. Good luck, whatever you decide!

15 Apr, 2010


Thanks Spritz, I think I'll go for cutting out the dead wood, as it can't stay like this! I'll try to create some sort of shape....may-be it'll never grow proper new branches again and be more like a shrub!! The leaves that are there are getting bigger and look quite lush today!

Some of the bare branches are quite thick...will the 'stump' need sealing or treating with anything?

15 Apr, 2010


No. The modern advice is not to paint on anything, just leave it to heal naturally.

15 Apr, 2010


Thank You. :o)

15 Apr, 2010


I would agree with Barbara, whatever the problem is. Cut it back hard, and it should produce plenty of new stems, and by the end of July you should end up with a better plant for it. Not really worth tinkering around with the individual dead branches. As Barbara says though there are never any guarantees with plants whatever you decide to do.

15 Apr, 2010


Thanks for replying Stephen.

Hard pruning it is then!

16 Apr, 2010

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Not found an answer?