Saving a juvenile willow tree

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We got a weeping willow last fall. We planted it, but we didn't get the protective fencing around it before the deer took their antlers to it. It was girdled. We left it alone just to see if there may be some kind of miracle come spring. Well, while looking at the tree today, I found a few green buds around the base of the trunk where the tree did not get damaged by the deer. The rest of the tree is gone -- brown and dry. If I cut off the dead part above where the buds are sprouting, can it manage to recover and grow normally from just a short stem? The trunk is barely an inch in diameter. I'm hoping it can still be saved.
 
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We made a similar error and didn't protect our new lime trees sufficiently well - I suppose you have to learn the hard way sometimes. The good news is that if you cleanly cut off the top of the damaged willow, and protect it well, it will grow again, and willow is relatively fast growing, so all is not lost! Good luck. :) Welcome to the forum by the way.
 
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Fifty odd years ago reading about taking cuttings most were about nine inches and the thickness of a pencil, heel in. Willow, 'Take a growth about three quarters of an inch and six foot long, make a hole in the ground with a crowbar '. I told Dad and he said just what cpp did "And stand back". Yours has the roots established, those shoots will shoot.

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We made a similar error and didn't protect our new lime trees sufficiently well - I suppose you have to learn the hard way sometimes. The good news is that if you cleanly cut off the top of the damaged willow, and protect it well, it will grow again, and willow is relatively fast growing, so all is not lost! Good luck. :) Welcome to the forum by the way.
I cut off everything above where the highest green bud is. That’s left about 14in/35cm of stem sticking out of the ground. I cut it as clean as I could. Is there anything I should put on the exposed top of the stem/trunk where I cut it, to protect it from disease?
 
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I cut off everything above where the highest green bud is. That’s left about 14in/35cm of stem sticking out of the ground. I cut it as clean as I could. Is there anything I should put on the exposed top of the stem/trunk where I cut it, to protect it from disease?
I wouldn't do that, you could cause more harm than good. A willow should fix itself, and it will fare better on its own. I would only consider a sealer for trees that are particularly prone to disease, like elm for example. It will grow away now quite happily. Willow trees especially appreciate watering in the dry weather.
 
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I always make that top cut slant so it sheds water, but I don't think it would matter much, ducks and willows love water.
PS. you did give it some protection from the bark eaters ?
 

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