How To Prune Dappled Willow: A Step-By-Step Guide For Beginners

Dappled willow, also known as Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nishiki’, is a beautiful and popular ornamental shrub that features variegated leaves in shades of pink, white, and green. However, like all plants, it requires regular pruning to maintain its health and shape.

In this blog post, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to prune dappled willow properly.

When to Prune Dappled Willow

Dappled willows are best pruned during the late winter or early spring while they are still dormant. This timing allows for optimal growth during the upcoming growing season.

Tools Needed for Pruning Dappled Willow

Before getting started on pruning your dappled willow tree/shrub ensure that you have the correct tools needed:

1. Sharp bypass pruners
2. Loppers (for thicker branches)
3. Safety goggles
4. Gloves
5. Hand saw (optional)

Step 1: Remove Dead Branches

The first step in pruning any plant is removing dead wood – this helps promote healthy regrowth from living tissues and prevents pests/diseases from spreading throughout the plant

Use sharp bypass pruners to remove any dead or damaged branches by cutting them back to just above a live bud or another branch/joining stem where possible; if necessary use loppers if too thick for your designated tool’s capability Take care not to tear off bark when making cuts as that can expose tender inner layers of wood – which could cause further damage

Step 2: Remove Crossing/Branches/Rubbing Growth

Next up is removing crossing/branch/rubbing growth within the interior canopy of your tree/shrub Use loppers/pruners/saw (depending on thickness) cut these branches off near their base ideally leaving no stubs behind

Step 3: Trim Back Long Branches

The third step is to trim back any excessively long branches that are growing beyond the desired shape of your dappled willow Use sharp bypass pruners/loppers and cut them back to just above a new branch junction

Step 4: Thinning Out

If needed, thin out dense growth within the canopy by selectively removing entire branches Ensure you don’t remove more than one-third of the total plant’s growth

This helps promote good air circulation/sunlight penetration – which can help prevent disease and pest infestations from taking hold.

Step 5: Final Touch Ups

Finally, take a step back and assess whether there are any areas that could use some final touch-ups. If you spot any stubs or poorly angled cuts, snip them off to encourage better regrowth.


So now you know how to prune dappled willow properly! Follow these steps for pruning your tree/shrub in late winter or early spring when they’re still dormant. Remember always use sharp tools, be careful not to damage live wood/bark when making cuts & do not over-prune as this can stress out your plant resulting in poor health- this species is quite resilient though so with good care it should thrive!