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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.


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

Can you post a picture please?

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.

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?


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. 



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!



 this is how the fallen leaves look like


 this is how a twig looks like which has broken off


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


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!"


 this is how the tree looks like


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...

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!

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!



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?

how do I sterilise my tools after?
and if I get a professional to do it, do I need to look for an arborist or tree surgeon? thanks a lot!

Jeyes fluid is also excellent. To be honest, I'd get rid of the lot. And get an arborist to do it for you. Willow won't burn (well, it will, but I really wouldn't advise it) and you don't want any part of the diseased wood sticking around for long.

Have it cut down and get them to grind the root stump and put a good strong stump and brushwood killer on it. Follow directions precisely. By the spring, you should be able to replant, easily....


when we did cut it before, we also had someone to do it for us!

I definitely get a professional in as there is another tree next too it I want to be looked at!

thanks a lot all for your help and advise!

I'll update you if it could be rescued or had to go!

I'll keep my finger's crossed though!