When To Prune A Desert Willow – Tips On Pruning Desert Willows

Desert Willow Flower
desert willow
(Image credit: dentok)

The desert willow is not a willow, although it looks like one with its long, thin leaves. It’s a member of the trumpet vine family. It grows so rapidly that the plant can get scraggly if left to its own devices. Trimming a desert willow keeps the plant looking tidy and attractive. For information about desert willow pruning, including tips on pruning desert willows, read on.

About Desert Willow Pruning

Desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) is a native U.S. plant, growing in the American southwest as well as Kansas and Oklahoma. The little tree has slender, willow-like leaves, but it is actually a flowering shrub. Desert willow produces flowers that are extremely ornamental. They fill the tree in spring but can keep appearing sporadically all year-round. These trees grow in dry regions and can provide shade in arid landscapes, but in order for the plants to be attractive in your backyard, you’ll have to start pruning desert willows early and regularly.

When to Prune a Desert Willow

If you are wondering when to prune a desert willow, trimming a desert willow can begin in late winter or early spring. In fact, a good time to prune this deciduous tree is the end of February or you can cut back desert willows in March. They are still dormant during this period.

Tips for Pruning Desert Willows

Pruning can keep these trees from getting leggy as they mature. If you want to cut back desert willows, first decide the shape you are looking for. You can create a tree with a single tree and a canopy at the top. You can also do desert willow pruning to create a multi-branched shrub with a canopy that reaches the ground. Once you cut back desert willows to your preferred shape, annual desert willow pruning keeps the trees looking good. If you decide on a single-stemmed tree, select a main leader to become the trunk. Cut back other competing leaders but retain side branches to fill in the canopy. If you want a multi-branched shrub, start trimming a desert willow when it is young. Cut the main growing tip, allowing several strong leaders to form.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.