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13/07/2014 at 12:29

Our cork screw willow tree looks very sad this year!

It hardly has any leaves, only at the top! And the twigs are dying back turning brown/black in colour!

Does anyone know what this is and what I can do about it.

13/07/2014 at 12:51

Tell us more about it - where is it planted and how big is it?

Can you post a picture please?

13/07/2014 at 14:53
how can I post a picture from my mobile?

I am not sure about the height, maybe 6 meters and I think it is about 6-7 years old.It was doing always well, but this year it is like this! I first thought it is confused because of the weather, but expected it to get fuller by midyear. But nothing, only the top meter is in leaves, all other have fallen off. In May the garden looked like in autumn as it was full of fallen leaves from the tree. It stands on its original place, the only thing I have changed is I put woodchip around. Does it not like this? Also we have been digging around it to take bluebells out, did we possibly hit a main root? Whereas this was after it sheddded its leaves.
14/07/2014 at 05:04

Hi Kleebat

Have a look at this, hope this helps

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    Search advice Willow anthracnose, scab and canker

Three important diseases of willows in the UK are anthracnose, scab and black canker. They harm the trees and can make them unsightly.




























14/07/2014 at 18:02

thanks a lot Buddyboy.

there are no spots on the leaves at all!

is it possible the diseases you mentioned appear without spots on the leaves?

14/07/2014 at 18:34

It doesn't sound good Kleeblatt.

You couldn't damage a main root without knowing you'd done so and willow can put up with that sort of thing anyway. I doubt if wood chip have any adverse effects either. 

Is it grafted? If so does all look well there, no rot or damage anywhere on the trunk?

I don't think you can post photos from a phone which is a pity.

If there are healthy bits I'd take a cutting or two. 

14/07/2014 at 18:46

Hi Kleeblatt

Look for irregular shaped raised black lesions on young shoots

 and also look for black shrivelled shoots

and are there any rust coloured spots

also look at the leaves that have fell


19/07/2014 at 10:47

Hi All,

I will post some pictures now.

Also I looked at old pictures from this year and back in May the tree looked as usual. And then all of a sudden it shed its leaves.

Would a disease not come on slowly?

Any advise is much appreciated, I really love this tree!


19/07/2014 at 11:19

 this is how the fallen leaves look like

19/07/2014 at 11:21

 this is how a twig looks like which has broken off

19/07/2014 at 11:23

this is how twig looks like which seems to have something - there are only a few of them looking like this!

19/07/2014 at 11:24


19/07/2014 at 11:25

You either need to cut it right back to healthy wood, water well and feed, or - as I have done - take a couple of good healthy twigs, plonk them in a glass of water and wait a week or 2. They will readily sprout roots and hey presto - new saplings. 


Other than those bits of advice, it's hard to know what to say. Sorry about your tree, but sadly, everything keels over at one point or another. This is the 'joy' of gardening: It never quite turns out as we dreamt, and things change at an alarming pace - because they can. There isn't one single dedicated gardener on the planet, who has ever stood back with a smug and satisfied look on his face, arms crossed, and who, beaming at his handiwork, says "My work here is done!"

19/07/2014 at 11:26

 this is how the tree looks like

19/07/2014 at 13:14

kleeblat, any idea how old the tree actually is?


They don't actually live all that long... Here is a site I found information on. It's American, so climate information and zone differences are not relevant, but it's informative...

19/07/2014 at 13:31
it was there when we moved in and since we did cut it back once when I counted 5 rings. this is about two years ago, so I guess it is about 7 years old. I will look at the link, thank you!
20/07/2014 at 12:05

is it possible that it is a reaction on the storms we had last fall? it is noticable that only thinner parts of the twigs are affected!
I will feed it well over the summer and see what happens.

It does not look like any of the mentioned diseases to me!

27/07/2014 at 10:39

I started to cut off the dead twigs - the question is will it help or does it need to be chopped further with the chain saw?

27/07/2014 at 11:09

Hi Kleeblatt

You said `it is not showing any symptoms of the above diseases' but looking at your 4 pictures you showed us, the 3rd picture for me is typical of Anthracnose, you have long black lesions on the stem and if you go down about 6 inches where a twig has formed there is also a blackening, these are supposed to be cut off promptly, and I get the impression that this has been going on for a while

You need to look for these on the tree and cut bellow unaffected branches these need to be burned and your tools sterilised after pruning, you will need to read the info I gave you above on the RHS web site

It may restrict further infection by pruning but it will all need to be pruned out and there is still no guarantee that this will be successful, its your choice

27/07/2014 at 12:00
how do I sterilise my tools after?
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