Despite their name, weeping willows can be beautiful, eye-catching trees. Their long tendrils blow in the wind and create a unique canopy over a shady spot. However, these trees also demand some specialized care. Follow these steps to turn your weeping willow's frown upside down and improve its health.

1. Have the tree professionally trimmed.

Trimming a willow tree is a bit of an art. You need to know which tendrils to remove and which ones to leave in place. You also need to remove very specific branches to properly shape the tree without disturbing the balanced look of its canopy. As such, you're best off leaving tree trimming to the professionals. Look for someone who has experience with weeping willows and who assures you they can do the tree justice. Make sure they use properly sanitized equipment, as willows are prone to a number of fungal infections that can be spread by poorly sanitized shears.

2. Work compost into the soil.

Willows pull a lot of nutrition from the soil, and since they prefer well-drained and moist soil that leeches nutrients easily, they sometimes become nutrient deficient. While applying a general-purpose fertilizer around the tree will work, using compost is even better. Compost has a more complete nutrient profile, so it will provide the tree with the trace minerals it needs along with the basic nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus found in fertilizer. Work some compost into the soil each spring. Focus on the circle of soil beneath the tree's canopy, as this is where the roots are most dense.

3. Watch out for insects.

A number of insects love the weeping willow tree. Aphids are tiny black bugs that may feed on its leaves. Gypsy moths may lay their eggs on the trees; these eggs then hatch into caterpillars. Another pest, the carpenter worm, eats its way into the willow's bark, often killing the tree. If you see any insects on your weeping willow, it's best to contact a tree care company and have the tree sprayed sooner rather than later. To help keep insects away, have the tree trimmed regularly; this helps increase airflow through the branches so they stay dry and less appealing to bugs.

If you follow the tips above, your weeping willow will be crying tears of joy, not sadness! Contact a tree care company in your area for more professional weeping willow care advice.