How do you do a hard pruning on a flamingo variegated willow tree
I need to know how far back it's safe to take it I know how to do the shrubs you can take them all the way to the ground but I wasn't sure on the tree trunk how far back is safe to prune it
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
To achieve the best color, fertilize Japanese willows and maintain the following pruning regimen for them:
Prune heavily in early spring, when still dormant.
Prune again in late spring to early summer.
Prune again in August.
Cut 1/3 of the older branches right down to the ground in spring, and trim back the top growth (remove a foot or so) on the remaining branches.
New shoots will emerge to take their place. You can even experiment with more drastic pruning because the plant is very tolerant in this regard. This pruning advice pertains to growing Japanese willows as multi-branched shrubs
The idea behind all of this pruning is to generate new growth. It is the new growth that is most colorful.