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A friend has just cut my dragon claw willow tree back down to about two meters of trunk, he was trying to help but i'm gutted. Will it grow back and if not can i plant a cutting to grow. Please help!!!


Steve the Gardening Vet

The RHS via google says you can massacre it and it should recover!

Cuttings are softwood and in early summer.

Thanks so much, feeling much better.



Yes, this is one of the ways to treat them if you want to keep any willow small - my contorted willow gets cut back to telegraph pole state every year, and is gorgeous again in a few weeks - worry not, all should be well. 


Well, I never knew my twisted willow was also called Dragon's Claw.   Much better name.

Mine was summarily hacked  to a stump last autumn by a man with a chain saw when the local electricity distribution board came looking for the causes of a power cut.   Two bird sown willows on the edge of my land had been blowing around in the gales and caused overhead cables to short.  They decapitated my Dragon's Claw too as a preventive measure. 

It has new shoots just starting but I'm still waiting for the cuttings I took to hsow any growth.   Have to be patient.


I dont care if it takes years i'm just pleased its going to grow back.



It will, and you will be surprised as to how quicky. 


Obelixx, try rooting your cuttings in water , takes about 3 -4  weeks, then plant in good compost - have done this for years - since accidentally discovering this when I kept a few branches indoors in a vase for decoration.  When I took them outside the vase was full of roots - have scattered cuttings of this all over this area since then!!

Not absolutely sure that Dragons Claw is the same as contorted, but do suspect so - family is right anyway so should respond the same.  

Bookertoo - I did root them in water and then potted them up but theyve had this winter to contend with so it's  a case of wait and see.   Mama dragon looks OK though so I'll take some more as insurance later on.

A couple of years ago my sister-in-law went green when she saw my tree as she'd spent a fortune and loads of petrol going round all the florists buying it up for her son's wedding decs.   Could have had it all free if she'd said.


I know how that happens, friend of mine has just spent an inordinate amount of money on a fig tree - I could have given him 10 gratis if he'd only mentioned it!! 

I wonder if you live where it is colder than here?  Mind, the mamma tree has only just started leafing, I'd have stayed in too if it were as cold as that where I was!  Maybe yur babies will start soon now it is getting lighter - do hope so - it is such a lovely tree. 

It does get colder here.   -15C for 2 or 3 weeks at a a time is common in winter and in recent years -20 and 25C have been known too.   It's not so bad if we have snow but lethal without that blanket.    Funnily enough, my box cuttings have coped, along with some persicaria divisions but no green shooots yet on the baby dragons kept in the same sheltered corner.   

However, I never give up on shrubs till June.    Last year I was about to bin my fig in a pot when I spotted shoots in mid June.    I put it in the ground to see if it would do any better but it didn't think much of this winter either so I've moved it to the greenhouse and given it a pep talk.  


Guess you don't quite live on my doorstep in the East Midlands obelixx, but even so I agree about not giving up early, June does often see some late and unexpected growth - but not last year when it had all drowned or gone lanky from lack of light - better things this year huh? 

I certainly hope so.   I once hosted an East Midlans nurseryman from near Loughborough who came over to give a talk to the Brussels Gardeners Club one March about 10 years ago.  We had -6C by day -15C at night and no signs of green shoots anywhere and iron hard ground.  He was horrified as he thought -6C was a hard frost in his garden.    He had kindly borught me cuttings of some exciting new introductions of evergreen shrubs from Oz and NZ but not one survived.



Oh dear, it was indeed rare in those times to get such low temperatures, but in the winter of 2010 - 11 we had -17 in our garden. To my surprise nearlyeverything survived , probaly because they had a good layer of snow upon them which might have orotected them?  There were of course some losses.  This year I woud think -10 was our lowest, and not for long.   


Snow certainly helps.  I've lost less when we've had the blanket than when we have weeks of bitter east winds and -15C or below and no snow.   Jan6 2009 we had a -32C out the back which was -26C at the front and nearly saw off my Kiftsgate.   It did see off several roses, several clematis and a dozen or more hitherto hardy and evergreen shrubs like viburnums, eleagnus, choisya and mahonia plus some conifers and a fancy hibiscus.

I now concentrate on sturdy plants that will survive and don't spend money on fancy versions and new varieties.     Looks like I've lost my Geoff Hamilton and William Shakespeare roses this year and my Orange Peel Hamamelis but I'll wait and see till June.



Now - 32 is not something with which I wish to become aquainted!!  Plus 32 now that is a different matter!!  Gardening where you are must be quite a challenge, but of course we gardeners are always up fpr a challenge.  Last year here it was all about low light conditions, persistent rain and general yuckiness. Today it is bright and pretty but with a gentle gale blowing - I say gentle because although the wind in strong, so far no branches have fallen on to the grass that I would like to claim is a lawn, but I'd get sued under the trade descriptions act if I did.   This means I shall have to go out later on and pick the daffodils/narcissi that have been blown over.  I rarely pick flowers from the garden, but blown over daffs I always do - they're not going to get better, so we may s well enjoy them indoors for a few days.

happy gardening this year, as with all years we haven't had yet, this will be a brilliant one ! 

Gardening here was fairly normal till 2009 and the bad winters started.   We'd have about 3 weeks of -15C to -20C in January or February when it did little harm and winter was always a little longer than when we were in Harrow but I find increasingly that winters have more extreme dips and highs and the poor old plants don't know whether they're coming or going with a warm spell in Jan followed by deep misery in Feb or this year where we had a balmy start to March and then 6' drifts of snow.   Last year I lost most plants to hard frosts in late March after a couple of weeks of warmth conned them into opening up their leaf buds and blossom.   Wipe out for many.

I increasingly plant short daffs to avoid the broken stems problem but do have lovely drifts of Ice Follies out the front which I really love and which flower late enough to miss a lot of teh worst winds.   I've even managed to get some species tulips to grow in two well drained beds but never yet a long stemmed one.  I planted 300 the first year and only 5 came up.   I reckon rodents got most and the rest must have frozen.

Last year was hard -too dull and cool and wet like yours.  Still, I shall be out there  sowing seeds and pricking on and planting out and lifting and dividing with the usual optimism just as soon as I can get about on one crutch.

I hope we all have a better gardening year.

Theres a green shoot on my tree  Happy gardening everyone.


Bushy 77 wrote (see)

Theres a green shoot on my tree  Happy gardening everyone.




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