How to Trim Blue Arctic Willows

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Blue arctic willows are shrubs that can grow up to 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide with proper care. However, in order to thrive, they need adequate care, including regular trimming. You'll need to trim your blue arctic willow at the right time of year and regularly perform other tree maintenance tasks.

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Trimming a Blue Arctic Willow

The best time of year for arctic blue trimming is in the spring. Wait until the threat of frost has passed, as you don't want to expose the freshly cut branches to harsh temperatures, but do it early enough to catch the best growing season. Start by removing any dead branches, leaves or other foliage using a pruning saw or pruning shears depending on the size of the branches. That might mean you wait to trim until new growth begins to appear so you can tell what's dead.

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Look for bark damage on the branches caused by branches rubbing against each other. Pay close attention to the most prominent main branches of the shrub. A great deal of growth comes out of those, so you want to ensure they're protected. Trim the rubbing branches about 1/4 of an inch from their collar, raised at the branch's base.

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Some arctic willows are weeping willows. If yours is of this variety, use your pruning saw to cut any top branches growing vertically. Finally, neaten the appearance of the bush or shrub by trimming 1/2 inch to 1 inch of growth all the way around. If you notice that your blue willow is struggling or if it seems to be producing more dead branches, consider rejuvenation pruning. This type of pruning is where you trim the bush down to 2 to 4 feet in height and width.

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Caring for Arctic Blue Willow Shrubs

Trimming is one of the most crucial maintenance tasks you can do for your blue arctic willow, but it also needs other forms of care. This shrub grows best in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 6, which are found mainly in the Northern and Central regions of the United States. You will likely struggle to effectively grow these shrubs outside of these zones.

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These plants grow fastest and stay healthiest with as much sunlight as possible. Ensure they get at least four hours of direct sunlight each day, encouraging more if possible. In terms of soil, they are pretty adaptable, so there is no need to test your soil and adjust the pH. The shrub grows best in wet or moist soil conditions, but you should avoid the combination of high heat and humidity, as that can cause issues with the roots. To fertilize your arctic willow, use a generic garden fertilizer three or four times a year between April and July.

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How to Care for a Dwarf Willow Bush

A dwarf blue leaf arctic willow is similar to the regular type of the species in terms of what it needs for care and maintenance. In terms of pruning, you will need to cut away about a third of the bush every spring. These dwarf shrubs also need a lot of sunlight, so avoid planting or potting it in a shaded spot. They're a bit pickier about soil, preferring a slightly acidic pH, so if you don't know your soil conditions, you'll need to test it. Unless conditions are arid, you shouldn't need to water more than once a week.

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Dwarf plants of any kind tend to be less hardy in winter than the full-size versions, so you should consider wrapping your dwarf willows in burlap or constructing wooden structures around them to protect them from wind and ice. This protection is especially necessary if it gets very cold in your area.

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