Why Are You Cutting Back That Willow Tree?

tree surgeon in the upper branches of a willow tree on Laundress Green in Cambridge, cutting back branches in danger of falling on passing people.

This is on Laundress Green in Cambridge. They are cutting the trees back for the health of the people in the community. ‘Health and Safety’ regulations make the Council responsible for any damage the trees might do to people on public land.

And here you can see the danger against which they are guarding, all over Cambridge. Here is an example of a willow that gave up the ghost and cracked and broke.

willow tree in a field fallen and cracked through

It may be a Crack Willow. Perhaps next time I am near it I will take a guide and try to discover what exact species it is. Apparently in Britain, the most common are the White Willow (Salix alba), the Crack Willow (Salix fragilis) and the Osier (Salix viminalis). Look at the very informative Latin name of the Crack Willow… So that may be where I will start to learn a bit more.

I have always been confused by the Willow species, and especially because of Osiers and Sallows, and how some have broader leaves and some have whiter or blue-white leaves… and on and on with all that knowledge to be acquired.


  1. Tamara says:

    So does ‘crack willow’ mean… uh… it is prone to such ‘cracks’? Did you speak with the person cutting back the tree? If so, how much will he cut back? So very sad if he is going to cut a very large amount off, because the willow trees here are GORGEOUS, as we have so often said on our walks. However, as I’m not a gardener – I may have understood this incorrectly, and perhaps he is only cutting back a little??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They cut back a lot on the tree next to it (I have photos) and I guess the same when they finished with this one. Yes, sad 😞


    2. Yes, Crack Willow is prone to cracking – with a loud crack.


  2. Joan E. Miller says:

    Ha ha. Speaking of osiers and willows – I have an osier willow in my yard! It took me years to identify it. I knew it was a willow by its leaves and catkins. It is not native here and I have no idea why it was planted, I assume by the previous owner. I don’t even know where she found it. I’m sure it’s not sold by nurseries here. It was small when I moved in, 12 years ago, but now has become much larger. Every year I prune it back. It’s not right for its space, but would be a large and painful undertaking to remove it.


    1. Is your property near water?


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