Gardening Magazine

Salix Integra (Dappled Willow) 'Hakuro Nishiki'

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0
OK, I need your help ... you good with that? Nice. 
I am obsessed with my Salix 'Hakuro Nishiki'. I had originally purchased this shrub as a tiny little thing about two years ago. Well, she has grown up significantly this past year:    Salix integra (Dappled Willow) 'Hakuro Nishiki'
And I love it. I just recently moved this beauty to a more prominent location where it could be used as a focal point.
I am fascinated by the coloration on the leaves and stems and might have taken over 100 photos of this shrub since April.
Here is how it looks currently:  
Salix integra (Dappled Willow) 'Hakuro Nishiki'
Salix integra (Dappled Willow) 'Hakuro Nishiki'
And at the end of June:
Salix integra (Dappled Willow) 'Hakuro Nishiki'
Salix integra (Dappled Willow) 'Hakuro Nishiki'
In the beginning of June:
Salix integra (Dappled Willow) 'Hakuro Nishiki'
Back in early May:
Salix integra (Dappled Willow) 'Hakuro Nishiki'
And in the middle of April:
Salix integra (Dappled Willow) 'Hakuro Nishiki'
Salix integra (Dappled Willow) 'Hakuro Nishiki'
Salix integra (Dappled Willow) 'Hakuro Nishiki'
Here is what I've observed so far:
  • The pink leaf color has diminished as the seasons progressed and the temps became warmer.
  • The stem color started out much more red and is now more of an orange/brown color.

Ideally, I want to keep this willow in the 4-5 foot range and will need to prune it annually in order to do so.
And I'm OK with that.
But I would still love to get your feedback on what you've experienced with this shrub in the past. So here are my questions:
  1. Will early spring pruning keep it in that 4-5 foot range?
  2. Will the regular pruning allow for redder stems each winter?
  3. Will the regular pruning aid in keeping the pink leaf color?
  4. Does the pruning impact the creation of catkins in any way? I've yet to see any on my Salix.
  5. How does she hold up long term? Does regular pruning prolong their beauty over the years.
OK, now is when you give me all sorts of good info.
Fire away!
John          

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