How big do weeping willow trees get
Everything You Need to Know About Weeping Willow Trees
Weeping willow trees have long been prized for their delicate, weeping branches that graze the ground with fluttering, silver-tinged leaves. Their form flows into a pleasing, round canopy. Not only do they provide food for rabbits and deer, their branches are ideal for nesting birds. Weeping willows do very well planted near water, where they can prevent soil erosion.
Weeping Willow Trees at a Glance
- Classic, graceful shape
- Help prevent soil erosion
- Tolerate many soil types
- Leaves turn warm yellow in the fall
- Provides excellent shade
- Prone to pest issues
Weeping willow trees are famed for their dramatic, elegant appearance. Their long, graceful branches “weep” into an arch, creating a round canopy that grazes the ground gently. Their narrow leaves are light green on top, with silvery undersides until they turn yellow in autumn. The bark is rough, gray, and ridged. Yellow flowers bloom in late winter or spring.
Weeping willow trees grow to be 30-50 feet tall, with a spread of roughly 30-40 feet.
|Appearance||Graceful, ground-sweeping branches form a rounded shape. Long, narrow, light-green leaves with silvery undersides that turn yellow in fall. Yellow flowers in late winter/spring|
|Hardiness Zones||Zones 4-10|
|Type of tree||Deciduous|
|Sunlight requirements||Full sun to partial shade|
|Soil composition||Widely adaptable, but prefers slightly acidic, well-draining, and moist soil|
USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the regions where different plants grow best, depending on their lowest winter temperatures. Weeping willows thrive in Zones 4-10, across most of the country.
Choose a growing site that receives full sun to partial shade, with moist, well-draining, slightly acidic soil. Pull any weeds and remove any turfgrass and debris. Do not plant near any underground power lines or sewers, since weeping willows have very long roots.
Dig a whole twice the width of your root ball, but about the same depth. Take the root ball out of the container and gently tease apart its roots, then place it in the middle of the hole. Backfill the hole with soil halfway, then pour 2 gallons of water into it. Finish filling the hole with soil, tamping down lightly to remove any air bubbles.
Weeping willow trees grow very well when planted near water, such as ponds or streams.
Weeping willow trees can thrive in full sun to partial shade, and are tolerant of many soil types.
Sun and shade
Weeping willow trees flourish in full sun to partial shade, meaning they need at least four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day.
Weeping willows are tolerant of many soil types, including alkaline, loamy, sandy, and clay soils. However, their preference is for moist, well-draining, slightly acidic soils. If your soil is too alkaline, you can make it more acidic by amending it with sulfur.
You need to water your weeping willow weekly for the first year after planting. Afterwards, you only need to water it enough so that the soil doesn’t dry out. You can test this by sticking your index finger into the surrounding soil. If the top two inches don’t feel moist, you need to water.
In general, weeping willows do not need fertilizer to grow healthy and hardy. If your weeping willow tree’s leaves are looking pale, you can apply a balanced fertilizer, with an NPK ratio of 20-20-20, in spring.
For best growth, prune your weeping willow when it is young, cutting it so that there is one central leader. Snipping back all branches in late winter or early spring is advisable, because it will encourage new branch growth and invigorate your tree.
Disease and pest issues
Weeping willows are susceptible to willow scab, willow blight, black canker, fungi, powdery mildew, root rot, and more. Pest issues include aphids, gypsy moths, and borers. Targeted spraying can help alleviate this issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where should I plant them?
Weeping willow trees do best when planted in areas that receive full sun to partial shade, in slightly acidic, moist soil. They should only be planted in Hardiness Zones 4-10.
How far should I plant one from my house?
Make sure to plant your weeping willow at least 50 feet away from your house.
Do they have problems?
Weeping willows can have lots of pest and disease issues, and they can invade underground pipes and powerlines.
Are all willow trees weeping?
No, some of them have more traditional shapes.
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How to Grow and Care for a Weeping Willow Tree
Vanessa Richins Myers
Vanessa Richins Myers
Vanessa Richins Myers is a seasoned horticulturist, writer, and educator with over 10 years of training and experience as a professional horticulturist and gardener. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture, with an emphasis in landscape design and urban horticulture. She volunteers as a community garden specialist.
Learn more about The Spruce's Editorial Process
Updated on 06/22/22
Reviewed by Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a certified arborist and member of the International Society of Arborists specializing in tree heal care. He founded and runs Urban Loggers, LLC, a company offering residential tree services in the Midwest and Connecticut.
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The Spruce / Erica Lang
In This Article
Pests & Diseases
Frequently Asked Questions
The weeping willow (Salix babylonica) is probably the best known of the weeping trees, with gracefully arching stems that dangle delicately and shiver in the breeze. The leaves of this deciduous tree are lance-shaped and grow 3- to 6-inches long; they turn yellow in the fall before dropping. The weeping willow's bark is rough and gray, with long, deep ridges. When the tree blooms in late winter or spring, yellow catkins (flowers) appear.
Click Play to Learn How to Grow a Weeping Willow Tree
Weeping willows are fast-growing trees, adding up to 10 feet per year when young, but their average lifespan is a relatively short 30 years.
Plant your weeping willow in the fall to give the root system time to establish itself before the warmer weather.
|Common Name||Weeping willow|
|Botanical Name||Salix babylonica|
|Mature Size||35–50 ft. tall, 5–50 ft. wide|
|Soil pH||Acidic, neutral, alkaline|
|Bloom Time||Winter, spring|
|Hardiness Zones||4–10 (USDA)|
Weeping Willow Care
Because weeping willows can reach 50 feet in height and width, they need a wide swath of lawn or yard to stretch into. They work well in areas that are naturally quite moist, but they tend to shed a lot of leaves and twigs so avoid planting them where falling branches can cause damage or injury.
These trees also should not be planted near sewer drains, septic systems, or water lines: Their root systems are aggressive—sometimes stretching wider than the tree is tall. Not only do they seek out the nearest and most abundant source of water, but they are attracted to the nutrients in the soil around a septic system, as well as the oxygen in the drainage lines.
Full sun, or partial shade in the southern end of its hardiness range, is best for this tree. It needs at least four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.
This tree is tolerant of a wide variety of well-draining soils and soil pH (4.5-8.0). Although it prefers moist, slightly acidic soil, it grows well in alkaline, loamy, rich, sandy, and clay soils. If your soil is too alkaline, add some organic matter to lower the pH.
Willows like standing water. Their long, far-reaching root systems can be helpful in clearing up puddle- and flood-prone areas of a landscape. They also like to grow near ponds, streams, and lakes.
Temperature and Humidity
Weeping willows have some drought tolerance and can handle the winter cold. The tree can also tolerate summer desert heat as long as greenery and water are not too far away.
A mature weeping willow does not require fertilizer if it is planted in rich soil and its leaves are a healthy green or nearby lawns are fertilized regularly. However, you can supply fertilizer to support lush growth.
Perform a soil test before adding any soil amendments, with the exception of slow release organic fertilizers, such as mulch.
Types of Weeping Willow
There are several excellent varieties of weeping willow, including:
- Golden weeping willow (S. alba 'Tristis') has green leaves that turn golden in fall, adding autumn interest.
- Wisconsin weeping willow (Salix x pendulina) is a hybrid that grows quickly to 30- to 40-feet tall and wide.
- Thurlow weeping willow (Salix x pendulina 'Elegantissima') is a pyramidal weeping willow with longer, pendulous branches.
While the tree is young, prune it so that there is only one central leader. It should also be trained to have wide branch crotches to help prevent breakage, as the tree is somewhat brittle and can be susceptible to wind damage. It is a good idea to prune a weeping willow in February or March, snipping back all its branches. This will trigger the sprouting of new branches and will give the tree more vigor.
Propagating Weeping Willows
Propagation of Salix babylonica is done through hardwood cuttings.
- Take cuttings from the base of a mature tree when the tree is dormant in the fall or winter, after the leaves have fallen in autumn and temperatures are consistently below 32 degrees Fahrenheit at night. The cuttings should be all hardwood with no soft tissue and at least 2 feet long.
- Make a straight cut at the base of the cutting below a bud, and a second, diagonal cut at around 9 inches, above a bud (you'll get two cuttings out of one piece).
- Place cuttings directly into the soil with the straight cut down, about 4 inches deep in the ground. Mark the location well. A more controlled way of rooting the cuttings is to plant them in pots filled with compost, also 4 inches deep. Dipping them in rooting hormone is optional, willow often roots on its own.
- Keep the soil evenly moist. You should see new shoots in the spring. Let the saplings develop strong roots for at least one growing season before transplanting.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
Weeping willows can be struck by several pests, including the gypsy moth, aphids, and borers. These insects are difficult to control—especially on large trees—but targeted spraying with pesticide can help. Young weeping willows are also tempting to deer, elk, and rabbits; place a collar around young trees to protect them from wildlife.
This tree may be affected by several ailments and diseases, including willow scab, crown gall, willow blight, fungi, cankers, leaf spot, tar spot, powdery mildew, rust, and root rot. Symptoms include branch or twig dieback and defoliation, but in some cases, the disease can kill the tree. To minimize problems, provide adequate water to keep the tree healthy, since healthy trees are better able to fend off disease. Rake up and remove leaf litter promptly, to control the spreading of disease. If these methods do not work, fungicides might.
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SALIX BABYLONICA: WEEPING WILLOW. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Willow: types and subtleties of cultivation
Willow is a wonderful tree widespread in our country. She is unusually pretty: a powerful trunk, thin hanging branches, graceful elongated leaves of various shades of green, flowers in the form of fluffy catkins. Perhaps every inhabitant of the northern hemisphere is well acquainted with willow, and many grow it in their garden plots.
People call willow willow, willow, willow, vine, willow, willow, sheluga, and the names differ depending on the locality.
Wood has long been an inspiration for poets, writers and artists. A. Fet, S. Yesenin, A. Akhmatova, F. Tyutchev and many other poets dedicated their lines to him, and G. Kh. Andersen wrote a fairy tale, which is called “Under the Willow”. The most famous painting depicting this plant is the “Weeping Willow” by C. Monet, however, the tree can be seen in so many landscapes.
Willow is also known in many religions. In Christianity, willow replaces palm branches on Palm Sunday. In Judaism, the tree plays the role of one of the symbols of the Sukkot holiday. According to Chinese mythology, the merciful goddess Guanyin holds a jug with a willow branch that exorcises demons. Willow trees are also often mentioned in folklore. A Japanese legend says that where the willow grows a ghost lives, and the British consider the willow an ominous plant that haunts travelers.
An unusual tree is famous not only for its mystical, but also quite mundane, practical properties. Willow is widely used in medicine, industry and production, agriculture.
- Medicine. Willow leaves and bark have been used to treat fevers since ancient Egypt and Greece, and willow decoctions were used by Native Americans as a pain reliever. Later, scientists discovered a number of useful substances in different parts of the plant: tannin, salidroside, salicin, flavonoids. And the well-known salicylic acid, from which aspirin was subsequently made, was first discovered in willow.
- Production. Thin flexible branches have been used since ancient times by the inhabitants of the northern hemisphere for weaving furniture, fish traps, fences and fences. Vine weaving has survived to this day. Now baskets, chairs, caskets, cradles are most often made from wicker rods. Wicker items are extraordinarily beautiful and fit perfectly into many interior styles. Willow wood is also suitable for the production of paper, rope and even fabric, and the sustainable fashion of recent years has revived interest in natural willow products.
- Agriculture and the environment. The weeping tree is also widely used in agriculture. Firstly, willow is an excellent honey plant, especially valuable for its early flowering. Secondly, the branches and leaves are good for livestock feed. Broom is often planted along sloping banks or slopes of ravines. Thanks to the long winding roots, the plant copes well with erosion. The vitality and durability of a tree sometimes even becomes an environmental problem, for example, in Australia, willow was widely used to strengthen the coast, planting huge areas with it. The willow took root well and replaced many local plants. In addition, the tree is used for wastewater treatment, the formation of protective forest belts, and the drainage of wetlands.
- Gardening and landscaping. Willow, and especially some of its varieties and types, is a magnificent decorative culture that can decorate any area. In addition, the tree is unusually unpretentious and grows quickly. Many eminent designers include willow in their compositions, creating gardens in a romantic style.
Botanists classify the genus willow (lat. Salix) to the willow family (lat. Saliceae). The genus combines woody plants and shrubs, which can be deciduous or, much less often, evergreen. Representatives of willows are very different: some of them are large trees with a powerful trunk, reaching 40 meters in height, others are dwarf creeping shrubs. Appearance is determined by the region of growth. Tall species are found in the temperate and subtropical zone of Europe, Asia and America, and dwarf willows grow mainly in the north.
Most often, willow has a large weeping crown, consisting of a large number of elongated branched stems covered with bark of various shades: from light green to dark purple. The bark of young shoots and trunk is usually smooth, with age begins to crack. The leaves, with rare exceptions, are arranged spirally and sit on a short petiole with two stipules. Their shape is very diverse: most often there are species with linear and narrow-lanceolate leaves, a little less often with elliptical and even rounded ones. The edge of the leaf blade is usually decorated with small or large teeth, although there are species with smooth edges.
Willow is a dioecious plant with small male and female flowers collected in dense catkin inflorescences. Some willows bloom in early spring, before the leaves appear, others - a little later, in May-June. After flowering, the fruit ripens in the form of a box with a large number of small seeds with a thick white tuft. Seeds are dispersed by the wind over long distances and, having fallen into water or silt, retain their germination capacity for a long time.
Ornamental species, hybrids and varieties of willow
In total, there are at least 550 species of various willows in the genus. Such diversity is the result of natural mutations and human activities. Over a long period of study of the plant, many hybrids have been bred. Even botanists often find it difficult to classify one or another species, and what can we say about simple amateur gardeners.
Still, there are several most common species suitable for landscaping parks, squares and household plots.
White or silver willow (lat. Salix alba) is a large (up to 30 m high) tree with thick, cracked bark and spreading openwork crown. The plant is widespread in Russia and the former Soviet republics, as well as in Western Europe, China and Asia Minor. It occurs mainly along the banks of rivers and other bodies of water and often occupies vast areas. It is very unpretentious and grows quickly in favorable conditions; in the northern regions, young shoots may freeze slightly. It is durable (some specimens reach 100 or more years), tolerates both lack and excess of moisture well, undemanding to the soil. Excellent for landscaping large, including urban areas, can be used to obtain vines.
Distinctive features of the species - thin hanging branches, painted in silver-gray, with age, the shade of the shoots changes to brown. Bright green smooth leaves have a lanceolate shape and a finely serrated edge, the reverse side of the leaf is silvery, slightly pubescent. Round inflorescences-earrings develop in the spring, simultaneously with the leaves.I. white
The widespread use of culture has led to the emergence of various forms, varieties and varieties.
- Yellow (var. vitellina) - large rounded crown and golden yellow or reddish shoots.
- Brilliant (var. sericea) - a medium-sized tree with graceful, emerald-gray foliage.
- Gray (var. caerulea) - branches directed upwards at a slight angle, bluish-gray leaves.
- Silver (f. argentea) - young leaves have a beautiful, silver-gray tint on both sides, later the front side of the leaf becomes rich green, the reverse side remains gray.
- Yellow weeping (f. vitellina pendula) - very thin and long shoots falling to the ground.
- Oval (f. ovalis) - leaves of an unusual elliptical shape.
Among the large number of varieties of white willow, the following can be distinguished:
- 'Golden Ness' (Golden Cape) - a variety that has received the award of the Royal Horticultural Society. The plant is especially attractive in winter, when graceful golden yellow branches are exposed.
- "Tristis" (Tristis) - a fast-growing willow of a classic appearance: narrow silver-green leaves on thin drooping branches. It has high frost resistance and is recommended for areas with cold winters.
- "Yelverton" (Yelverton) - a low tree or shrub with bright red-orange shoots.
- "Aurea" (Aurea) - a large plant with unusual, yellow-green, leaves.
- "Hutchinson's Yellow" (Yellow Hutchinson) - shrub, reaching 5 m in height, decorated with graceful shoots of a reddish-yellow hue.
- "Britzensis" (Britzenskaya) - shoots of a red-brown hue.
- "Chermesina Cardinalis" (Chermesina cardinalis) - a very showy variety with scarlet branches.
Babylonian or weeping willow (lat. Salix babylonica) is a tree characterized by brittle yellowish-green drooping branches. Distributed in the subtropical zone - Central Asia, the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus, the southern coast of Crimea. Contrary to the name, the birthplace of culture is China, from where it was transported to other regions. It reaches a height of 12 m, a crown diameter of about 6 m. In addition to long stems that reach the surface of the earth, it stands out with beautiful glossy, bright green above and silver below leaves. It is very decorative, as it has a short leafless period: the leaves fall off only in January, and already at the end of February they grow back. Babylon willow is especially good in early spring, when it is covered with fresh young greens.I. babylonian
Unfortunately, the species is not hardy and cannot grow in regions with cold winters. Otherwise, the culture has no special preferences: it does not require special soils and easily puts up with short periods of drought.
One of the varieties is widely known:
- Peking (var. pekinensis) - distributed mainly in China, Korea and Eastern Siberia. Also known as Matsuda's willow (lat. Salix matsudana).
How many more varieties of weeping willow:
- "Tortuosa" (Tortuosa) - a plant with interesting strongly curved, as if swirling, branches of a brown-green hue and bright fresh foliage.
- "Crispa" (Crispa) - this variety does not have twisted shoots, but leaves that form intricate curls on the branches.
- "Tortuosa Aurea" (Tortuosa Aurea) - twisted red-orange stems.
Purple willow (lat. Salix purpurea) is a plant whose popular name is yellowweed. This species is found throughout the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere. It is a medium-high (on average 3 m, maximum size - 5 m) deciduous shrub with dense purple or yellowish shoots directed upwards. Elongated, bright green on top and silvery green on the reverse side, the leaves are arranged in pairs, and not alternately, as in other species. The inflorescences appearing in early spring are purplish, hence the name of the taxon. Purple willow is often used for weaving, in ornamental gardening - as a hedge.I. purple
Most famous forms:
- Graceful (f. gracilis) is a fast growing shrub with elongated glaucous leaves.
- Hanging (f. pendula) - a shrub with a wide crown formed by thin hanging purple shoots.
- Dwarf (f. nana) - characterized by compact size and neat spherical crown.
Among the varieties are the following:
- 'Norbury' (Norbury) - an elegant undersized variety.
- "Goldstones" (Golden stones) - shoots of a beautiful golden hue.
- "Irette" (Irette) - a low shrub with narrow gray-green leaves.
Goat willow (lat. Salix caprea) is popularly called ravine or willow. The official name is associated with the eating of this plant by goats and sheep. Wild specimens are often found in the temperate zone of Europe and Russia, as well as in Siberia and the Far East. Unlike other species, it prefers to settle in dry places, however, if this is not possible, it can also grow along the banks of water bodies or in swamps.
This is a large (up to 13 m high) tree or shrub with spreading powerful branches and oval bright green leaves. In shape, the leaves differ from other types of willow and resemble, rather, bird cherry. Earring inflorescences appear in early spring, even before the leaves appear, and numerous seeds ripen in May.I. goat
The plant is widely used in medicine, agriculture, construction and crafts. At the same time, a number of decorative forms and varieties have been obtained, the main application of which is the landscaping of various territories:
- 'Kilmarnock' is a low shrub with long drooping branches, greenish oval leaves and yellow or gray flowers.
- "Weeping Sally" (Weeping Sally) - a variety similar to the previous one, but more compact in size.
- "Silberglanz" (Silver gloss) - elongated leaves with a silvery coating on the surface.
- "Gold Leaf" (Gold leaf) - the leaves of this variety, on the contrary, have a golden hue.
Whole willow (lat. Salix integra) is an East Asian species most commonly found in Japan, China, and Korea. Differs modest (no more than 3 m in height) size and compact shape. Some botanists consider the plant to be a variety of purple willow. Stands out sprawling. reddish or yellowish. branches and narrow leaves with almost no petioles.
Often found as an ornamental culture, the standard form is especially common. The most popular variety is 'Hakuro-nishiki' (Hakuro nishiki) or 'Nishiki Flamingo' (Nishiki Flamingo) known for its compact size and beautiful variegated leaves in cream, pink and green hues. These varieties are often grafted onto more frost-resistant goat willow and grown in the middle lane without shelter.I. whole-leaved "Hakuro-nishiki"
Brittle willow (lat. Salix fragilis) is a species familiar to Russia, widespread in Europe and Western Asia. The plant was introduced to North America and Australia, where it became a weed, displacing native species.
It is a large (up to 20 m) deciduous tree with a long lifespan. The spreading crown consists of thin branches that break easily with a loud crack (hence the name of the species). Broken branches that fall into the water take root easily, and when the current carries them further, they form new colonies. On the shoots are elongated bright green leaves.I. brittle
There are several varieties in cultivation:
- Bubbly (var. bullata) – a beautiful crown with soft rounded hills, a bit reminiscent of a giant broccoli.
- Basfordiana (var. basfordiana) - a hybrid with bright, yellow-orange branches.
- Russeliana (var. russelliana) is a tall fast growing variety.
- Reddish (var. furcata) - dwarf willow with bright red inflorescences.
- 'Rouge Ardennais' (Red Ardennes) showy reddish-orange branches.
- "Bouton Aigu" (Thin bud) - shoots from olive green to purple hues.
- "Belgium Red" (Belgian red) - burgundy shoots and emerald green leaves.
Willow (lat. Salix viminalis) is usually used for vines, but there are also decorative forms. This is a tall (up to 10 m) shrub or tree, distinguished by long flexible shoots, woody with age. Young branches are covered with a short silvery pile that disappears with time. Very narrow alternate leaves appear in April, along with golden yellow inflorescences.
Holly willow (lat. Salix acutifolia), also called red willow, grows in most of Russia. This is a deciduous tree or shrub, the maximum height of which is 12 m. Most often, the plant is found along the banks of rivers and lakes, but it can also settle outside water bodies. Differs in thin long shoots of brown or reddish color and narrow two-color leaves: bright green above, grayish-silver below. The plant is especially beautiful in early spring, when fluffy catkins bloom, and this happens even before the leaves appear. The most famous variety - "Blue Streak" (Blue Stripe) is distinguished by graceful bluish-green leaves.I. rod-shaped, I. acutifoliate
Creeping willow (lat. Salix repens) is a very graceful undersized (no more than 1 m) species common in France. In other regions it is found very rarely and only as a cultivar. The main difference is a large number of branched stems, which are first covered with a silvery down, and then become bare. The leaves are oval-elliptical in shape and have different surfaces: a pubescent gray underside and a glossy dark green above. Fluffy inflorescences bloom in April or May. The plant is protected in many areas of France.
The most popular variety is creeping silver willow (var. argentea) - a valuable highly ornamental plant with densely pubescent grayish leaves and purple shoots.
Shaggy or woolly willow (lat. Salix lanata) is a subarctic species growing in Iceland, Northern Scandinavia, and northwestern Russia. It is a spherical undersized (no more than 1 m) shrub with dense branched shoots. Young shoots are covered with a short bluish down, with time the stems become brown and smooth. The leaves of the species are interesting - silvery in color, oval-ovoid in shape. The texture of the sheet is velvet, felt. The view is great for landscaping areas in the northern regions.I. creeping, I. shaggy
Spear-shaped willow (lat. Salix hastata) is another low-growing shrub species, the average height of which is 1.5 m, and the maximum size is no more than 4 m. It grows on the slopes and shores of the Arctic rivers, in the Alps and tundra. Wild-growing specimens are often found in Northern Europe and America, the Far East, Siberia, and Central Asia. The plant is distinguished by branched shoots growing upwards or flattened on the ground, as well as oval leaves, smooth on top and slightly pubescent on the reverse side.
Netted willow (lat. Salix reticulata) is a low-growing ornamental plant native to Eastern Siberia and the Far East. In nature, it serves as food for deer. This is a branched low (up to 0.7 m) shrub, decorated with branched creeping stems and unusual leaves. The leaves are oval in shape and dark green in color with a textured silky surface. Due to its elegant appearance, mesh willow is often used in the design of parks, squares and home gardens in the northern regions.I. spear-shaped, I. reticulate
Willow in landscape design
A variety of willow species allows you to choose a plant suitable for specific conditions. First of all, you need to focus on the size and location of the site.
In wide open spaces of a large area, large powerful trees will be appropriate - silver willow, goat brittle in temperate climates, Babylon willow in the south. Tall cultivars are perfect for landscaping city parks and squares, as well as arranging a protective plant strip along roads. The ability of the above species to grow rapidly, smoke and gas resistance makes them indispensable for planting in areas of new buildings.
Willow, especially its water-loving varieties, is indispensable for decorating and strengthening the banks of various water bodies. It thrives well in humid environments. The only problem is that the perennial grows very quickly, occupying free areas. The plant should be carefully monitored: young shoots should be cut down annually.
Medium-sized varieties of willow - purple, whole-leaved - planted as tapeworms in open glades or lawns. They serve as the center of the landscape composition, around which lower cultures are located. Another option for using such willows is the organization of hedges.
Compact species and varieties (creeping, reticulate, hairy, spear-shaped) can be placed even in modest areas, these plants do not take up much space. Such willows look good as the lower or middle tier of a landscape composition of different heights, made up of perennial shrubs. In addition, undersized willow is perfect for decorating the shores of miniature summer cottages: streams and ponds. Thus, an original imitation of river landscapes will be obtained.
Growing and care
It is not difficult to grow willow in your garden: the tree is very unpretentious and does not require complex care. However, the various types of willows often differ from each other and need different conditions: soil, amount of water and lighting. The way plants reproduce can also differ. That is why the first task of the gardener is to determine the type of willow and, depending on this, act in the future.
Location, soil, top dressing, watering
Almost all plant species are considered photophilous. They easily withstand direct sunlight and prefer open spaces, however, a little shading will not hurt the tree. Willow can be planted both in the open sun and in partial shade.
Humidity of the site depends on the type selected. The vast majority of willows in nature prefer to settle along the banks of water bodies, so they should be placed as close to the water as possible.
[!] With the help of powerful roots, adult willow consumes a large amount of water every day. This property of the tree is used to drain marshy soils and areas with near-surface groundwater.
Willow is not demanding on soil composition, although it prefers loose (water and breathable) and nutrient substrate containing a sufficient amount of sand with loam. Peat soils, in which moisture stagnates, the tree does not like, and only some willows (white and purple) are able to grow on peat bogs.
Only young immature specimens need feeding and watering. In the future, the tree itself produces the necessary moisture through a powerful root system.
Willow tolerates decorative pruning, and its crown becomes even denser and more decorative with this procedure.
Low to medium height willows with branches pointing upwards can be formed into a ball or an umbrella on a stalk (stem), in drooping varieties, long shoots that reach the surface of the earth should simply be slightly shortened. It is not forbidden to adjust the height of the tree, restraining its growth.
Removal of excess branches is best done in early spring, before the start of the growing season, or in late autumn. You can slightly adjust the tree throughout the summer. To be pruned:
- strong leading shoots (this will restrain the growth of the tree and will encourage the emergence of young side shoots),
- excess shoots on the trunk (if the willow is growing on a trunk),
- branches growing inward and thickening the crown.
As for standard willows, there are two main forms: fountain and ball. To get a fountain on a stem-stem, the shoots should be shortened quite a bit at the edges, so that the length allows them to hang freely, forming a green likeness of water jets. The spherical shape requires more radical trimming in a circle.
[!] When pruning, always leave the outermost bud pointing upwards on the branch. In the future, a young shoot on such a branch will also grow correctly - up.
If your garden has an old tall willow that interferes with other crops and takes up a significant part of the site - do not get rid of it completely, but form a pretty green ball lying on the ground. Just cut the stem close to the soil surface. Thus, the trunk will stop growing upwards, and young shoots will soon appear from its lower part, which can be cut to the desired shape.
The trunks of young willows are often twisted or bowed to the ground. To fix this, you need to tie the trunk to a support, for example, a metal pipe dug into the ground and leave it for 2-3 years. During this time, the trunk should straighten up and acquire the desired shape.
Propagation and planting of willows
In the wild, willows are propagated by seeds, cuttings, and some species even by stakes. In cultivation, it is best to cut the tree, as the seeds quickly lose their germination capacity in the air and are well preserved only in water or silt.
Cuttings for planting should be cut from branches that are neither too old nor too young. They should not be too thick or, on the contrary, thin - both of them are unlikely to give roots. The optimal length of a single cutting is about 25 cm. A young basal shoot broken out with a “heel” (a piece of root) is also suitable.
Cuttings can be planted for rooting at the end of October, before the onset of frost or in mid-spring. Leaves are removed from the shoots in the lower part and stuck into the soil at a slight angle, they can first be soaked in the root for a day, although without this the percentage of rooting is quite high.
If several willows are planted at once, the distance between them should be at least 70 cm for low-growing species, 1-3 m for medium-sized trees and 5-7 m for tall trees.
Pests and diseases
Willow is a food plant for many insects. The tree is attacked by more than 100 species of aphids, beetles, larvae of various butterflies, wood ants, and sometimes wasps build their nests on the willow. An adult plant usually easily withstands an attack of insects, but young specimens can suffer greatly. In order to protect fragile willows, pests should be collected by hand or, in the case when the colony has grown too large, destroyed with modern insecticides.
In rural areas young willows are often eaten by grazing goats. These animals should not be allowed close to the planted trees. Of the rodents, mice are dangerous, undermining the succulent roots and green shoots.
The tree is attacked not only by pests, but also by various infections. One of the most common willow diseases is rust caused by the fungus Melampsora, the main symptoms of which are brown and orange spots on the leaves. Fungicides - antifungal drugs will help fight the disease.
Young seedlings may become infected with Fusarium. It can be recognized by the blackening branches and drying leaves of the plant. To get rid of the disease, infected shoots should be cut to healthy tissue, dried leaves removed and burned. Treat the rest of the tree liberally with fungicides.
Sometimes willow leaves suddenly turn yellow and fall off in summer. Usually this sign indicates a lack of moisture, it is enough just to water the plant abundantly.
Willow, without exaggeration, can be called a fabulous tree - it is so beautiful and spectacular. Plant a weeping beauty and on your site, the tree will give you many pleasant minutes.
Babylonian willow, or weeping willow
Weeping willows, sadly bending their beautiful branches over the water, are familiar to each of us. To date, more than 600 species of this elegant tree are known. However, in Russia you can find no more than two hundred varieties of willow. The most common type is shrubs. It is found in many regions of the country. Shrubs perfectly adapt to any weather conditions, surviving even under adverse conditions. Trees choose their own specific places of growth. Today in the article we will talk about the weeping willow.
Babylon willow is considered one of the most beautiful trees, which is often chosen to decorate the parks of southern Russia. The tree usually grows up to 12 meters high. The trunk is large enough in diameter, maybe more than 1.5 meters. The crown gives a special beauty to the tree: thin branches, like jets of a waterfall, descend to the very ground. Their color is also attractive: reddish or green with a golden tint. The birthplace of the Babylonian willow is considered to be Northern China. Although, as biologists say, this variety was also common in Central China.
However, the tree easily adapted to the harsher Russian climate. It is not for nothing that the willow is called weeping, not only because of the branches lowered to the ground, resembling a mournfully bowed head, but also because this tree grows in damp river valleys or in lowlands on the sands.
Babylon willow is a tree that loves a lot of sun, but no less moisture. It is resistant to frost, but in severe winters it can freeze a lot. When planting a tree, one should take into account the security of the landing site from winter winds and frosts. It is better to choose those places where the tree will be as closed as possible. The trunk, like the branches, is quite knotty. The older the tree gets, the more powerful its knots become. Pollination occurs in April - May, when not only bees, but also other insects flock to the smell. Willow catkins are thin, with leaves located at the very base.
The root system of a tree is distinctive: it will grow until it finds a place from where it will be fully supplied with the moisture necessary for full growth.
We plant in the garden
Babylonian willow will be a wonderful decoration not only for the park area, but also for the dacha or garden plot. Male willows are more suitable for seedlings: they compare favorably with female willows in that during flowering, annoying fluff does not form on the catkins. You can plant willow even in the northern regions. If the tree is still frostbitten, it will recover just as quickly. The willow of Babylon is good because it looks like a beautiful sprawling green tent.
By the way, you can have picnics under the branches of this tree, hiding from the intense heat during the warm season. Which varieties among gardeners are in great demand, we will consider below.
Experienced gardeners will certainly recommend this variety of this tree as Tortuosa Babylonian willow. Its description is not at all similar to the previous one. It is a shrub up to two meters tall, with strongly twisted branches. The sinuous branches have a golden appearance, which looks very advantageous against the background of bright green foliage. This variety of willow is very demanding on lighting, it needs a lot of sunlight and heat.
But Tortuosa can't stand the cold at all. Therefore, even in the warm season, it is worth protecting the willow from the wind as much as possible. Tortuosa (Babylon willow) is very fond of watering. Due to the accumulation of water in the rhizome, it easily tolerates stagnation. In the northern regions of the country, Tortuosa can freeze in winter to the level to which it will be covered with snow. However, again, thanks to the root system, the shrub is quickly restored.
Another interesting variety is Crispa Babylon Willow. Its description will be as follows: it is a small dwarf tree that can grow no more than two meters in height. The special beauty of this variety lies in its leaves. They are dark green, very shiny and look a lot like the small flowers of an ornamental house rose.
The shrub is also sensitive to cold weather, but if it freezes, then, like the previous varieties, it quickly recovers. Willow Crispa is planted as a green fence or decorative labyrinths. It is noteworthy that this variety was obtained by Russian gardeners only about 30 years ago. But today Crispa has gained wide popularity in the most beautiful park areas of our country.
How is Babylon willow planted? Reproduction occurs with the help of cuttings. Growing a willow is fairly easy. This is the species they say about: stick it in the ground, it will sprout by itself. The only condition is a sufficient amount of moisture. You can also simply place the cutting in water and wait until the first roots appear.
It is important to leave at least 6-8 buds on the handle. Babylonian willow (a photo of the tree can be seen in the article) quickly gets used to a new place. If the tree will look more beautiful near the water, then shrub species are perfect for decorating the site.