RE: Blue Arctic Willow

Asked May 26, 2020, 3:49 PM EDT

I need some advice regarding a Blue Arctic Willow that I “inherited” with the house my husband and I moved into. I did some reading last fall about when the best time is to trim/prune, etc. Read that late-March/early-April is best time, and that you can really hack it down. Did *some* trimming/pruning at the right time, but clearly not enough (was nervous to really cut it down). Plus, rabbits stripped some of the bark off at the base so I was nervous that cutting too much might jeopardize its health. Clearly that wasn’t an issue.. It’s a BEAST now…has some dead branches that need to go, and I’m afraid it’s getting too heavy and will overtake the French Lilac right next to it. Wondering if I can still do some trimming/pruning now w/out harming it?

New York County Minnesota

2 Responses


This plant is supposed to grow 5' x''5'. Perhaps it is not the right plant for the space it is in. If you don't want to be fighting it for many years, you may want to remove it and plant something that is a better size for the location, or at least move it out a few feet so it does not crowd your deck and the lilac.

You can always cut out dead branches and ones that lost significant bark to the rabbits. To control the size you may want to take out some of the other branches right to ground level. The ones that are next to the deck or to the lilac will give those items a little more space and kind of move the plant to a better location without requiring a shovel.

Thank you, Terri! This lines up with that tree/shrub person told me at the 101 Market! I love the shrub so we’re going to cut it down, and keep up with trimming each year!