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something wrong with our weeping willow trees...

Discussion in 'Homeowner Helper Forum' started by Kevin Rea, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. Kevin Rea

    Kevin Rea New Member

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    Hello out there all you arborist, my name is Kevin and I live in Lancaster California. We are located about 70 miles Northeast of Los Angeles in the high desert.
    We have a large weeping willow in our front yard about 35 ft in height and it seems to have a problem.
    It has a large gaping hole in its side about two feet in height and about 5 in wide and 5 in deep.
    I don't see anything crawling around in there. I took some pictures of it. Just wondered if it's some sort of beetle infection or what it might be and possibly how to cure it.
     

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  2. JeffGu

    JeffGu Antagonist/Heckler

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    Willow trees are very fast growing... and shortlived, as trees go. It's hard to tell from pictures, but that one looks like it is close to 2' in diameter? Maybe 30~40 years old?
    Personally, I think that one is near the end of its life cycle, and they have soft wood which breaks very easily after they start dying off. I'd consider removing it and planting a new one. This is what I did at my own house, and we got a 8' hybrid... Golden Weeping X Curly Willow. When it was young, it had the curly twigs like a Curly, but after about a year they straightened out and it has reverted to the weeping form, which is normal. They cross these two varieties to keep the size down. Instead of reaching 60' tall, it will probably never get over 40' tall. The attached picture is of the tree now, about 5 years after we planted it. It grows about six feet per year. I pruned it last month to get the long branches up off the ground a couple of feet so we can mow... as you can see, they're already touching the ground, again. The trunk is about three or four times the diameter it was when planted. It's already our favorite feature in the yard.

    My point is only that if removed, it can be replaced and the new tree will be quite attractive in only a few years. If that was an oak tree, I think I'd try to save it. But, it's a willow, and I know all too well what the odds are.
    Other folks may have a different opinion, so check back... I love these trees, but I try to be realistic, too. Fast growing means weak wood and a short lifespan.

    willow.jpg
     
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  3. Kevin Rea

    Kevin Rea New Member

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    Hi Jeff,
    thanks for the reply, if we have it taken down, do they also take out the stump and roots so there will be room for the new one to grow ?

    kevin
     
  4. JeffGu

    JeffGu Antagonist/Heckler

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    Most tree services have a stump grinder, or they subcontract that part out. You need to let them know you want the stump removed.
     
  5. BC WetCoast

    BC WetCoast Addicted to ArboristSite

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    We have pollarded many weeping willows over the years. Including several where the stems look worse than those. In pollarding, you are cutting new growth (yearly/biyearly) back to a specific point. The key is doing the cutting back regularily. This will prolong the life of the tree as there usually isn't as much weight on the weakened sections and there is less failure. The oldest trees in Britain are all pollarded for this reason. It's also a good way to maintain a height over time and adjust the shape.

    It would be an ongoing maintenance cost as you would need a crew (or your time) to come in and cut back to the knuckles. The knuckles are formed after you make the initial cuts, then cut all the sucker growth back to that point each year.
     
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  6. Jed1124

    Jed1124 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Weight reduction or pollarding are good alternatives to removal. Any targets that the tree would hit should it fail?
    Willow is a water loving tree. Seems to be a interesting choice for the high desert, but it does seem to be doing well.
     
  7. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

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    All good advice except it's a willow. Canker and rot will win out sooner than later.
     
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  8. BC WetCoast

    BC WetCoast Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Don't disagree, but the pollarding takes a lot of weight out of it, so it can handle a lot of rot before limbs fail. And they are often pretty short when they do fail.
     
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  9. Huskybill

    Huskybill ArboristSite Guru

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    I’d copice the trunk close to the ground. The old root system sends up new trees. Copice you vee the top of the trunk close to the ground.

    I tried this in the forest, while logging and it works.
     

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