If you are looking for a large specimen tree, Weeping Willow is an excellent choice to make. It is always attractive, in spring and summer with its soft green leaves and graceful form and in winter too, when the form of the trunk and branches can be appreciated. With its rapid growth-rate it will satisfy the most impatient of gardeners and it is trouble-free with few if any pests and diseases. Weeping Willow will easily grow six or even eight feet a year, making it perhaps the fastest growing tree available. When freshly planted it will usually grow rapidly to ten feet or more and then start to spread outwards, sending down its characteristic slender hanging branches. It is not suitable for hedges, but it can be used singly or in a row for an informal screen to block an unsightly view.
Many properties have problem damp areas, drainage ditches, streams, or you may even be lucky enough to live along a river or lake. Weeping Willow is the ideal tree-choice for those situations as it thrives in damp and even wet soil and looks so beautiful hanging out over water. It will however grow very well in normal soil and once established even tolerate dry periods. Weeping Willow should not be planted close to buildings or drainage lines as the root system may cause damage searching for water.
There are usually no pests which attack the Weeping Willow, so damaged or destroyed foliage is not an issue. Willow Blight, which can be a serious problem with other types of willows, is rarely seen on Weeping Willow except in the north-west. Weeping Willow is occasionally nibbled by deer, but this is only going to be a possible problem during the early years as the tree will soon be too tall to be reached.
The Weeping Willow arrived in Europe in 1730, from China, where it had been grown for centuries. The popular ‘Willow Pattern’ plate shows this tree in a traditional Chinese setting. From those original trees (Salix babylonica) various selections and hybrids have been developed to give hardier trees that do better in North American conditions.
A mature Weeping Willow is a tree of great beauty, reaching 40 feet in height in time, with a spread of around 30 feet or more. So choose a planting spot where it can mature and be appreciated. It grows a strong central trunk with a deeply ridged, light-brown attractive bark. Several strong branches will grow out and the long pendulous leafy branches will descend from these almost to the ground. These branches can easily be trimmed as needed to create a beautiful shady spot to sit under or hold a family barbeque.
The leaves come early in the spring; Weeping Willow is one of the first trees to leaf out. The leaves are long, slightly twisted and hang down from the branches. They stay on the tree late into the fall, eventually dropping to reveal the graceful form of the branches. The flowers are insignificant, so flower and fruit drop is not an issue with this tree. Weeping Willow does best in full-sun but it can be planted among other trees where it will quickly grow up into the sun. It usually requires no pruning, but branches can be trimmed in winter to reduce the size a little. If the tree does grow too large it can be cut back as much as needed. New branches will quickly shoot from the bare trunks.
Weeping Willow is hardy in zones four to nine, which means that it will thrive throughout the United States, except for the southern tip of Florida and the northern parts of Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota. So wherever you live you can almost certainly grow this beautiful tree. If you have a small garden it is possible to grow this tree in a very large container, like a half-barrel, where it will grow more slowly and can be contained so you can enjoy its beauty for quite a few years.
It will be happy in almost all types of soil, except very sandy, dry soils. It will do best where there is an adequate supply of water, especially in spring, but will grow happily under most conditions. Of course if you are planting in normal soil that is not constantly moist, it should receive some extra water during the first year or two until it becomes established. Fertilizer is rarely necessary as this tree has deep roots that will find their own food.
Since it was introduced from China plant breeders have worked to produce forms of the Weeping Willow that are hardier, not susceptible to spring frost and are resistant to disease. Our trees are from the best selections and are grown from branch cuttings, not seed, to ensure that these special characteristics are present in every tree produced.
Because this is a large tree it should be planted in an open area away from buildings. Dig a large hole twice as wide as the container or root-ball and mix in some organic material like compost or peat-moss. Plant the tree to the same depth as the container it was in, replace some of the soil, firm it down with your feet, water well and then fill in the hole. Your tree will be off to the best start you can give it.
We sell only trees that are from the best forms and we have a wide range of sizes to give you the best plant for your purpose. However we are constantly renewing our stock to make sure our customers get fresh, healthy plants, so supplies of this tree may be limited. To avoid disappointment order now.