The Definitive Guide to Willow Trees | Dean Bjorkstrand Landscaping

The Definitive Guide to Willow Trees

Willow trees are suited in moist, temperate soil, and need a lot of sunlight. While they can grow in virtually any climate, the stems are quite fragile and are prone to be broken from high winds and damaging storms, therefore they are not recommended to be grown in areas prone to such weather. That being said, willow trees are a fantastic choice for your home’s landscape. There are a wide variety of willow trees available on the market so that this guide will outline the different types, and it will give you steps to taking care of your willow tree

Types of Willow Trees 

Willow trees are typically characterized as a tree or a shrub. While there are over 400 documented species of willow trees, here are a few of the most common willows used in exterior landscaping.

Weeping willow

The weeping willow, Salix babylonica, is the most recognizable willow out of the entire salix family tree. Their dangling pendulous branches are what give the weeping willow its iconic graceful look.

Pussy willow

The pussy willow, Salix caprea, has an entirely different look to that of the weeping willow. Its stems stick upright, instead of the weeping’s appendage like branches. Fuzzy bulbous buds, called catkins, peacefully pop out of the branches in a charming and cozy fashion during the winter.

Gold willow

Golden willows, Salix alba, are a species of white willow trees whose new growths produce a vibrant golden hue. The branches are similar to weeping willows, but they are not as pendulated and pronounced as the weepings. These trees are great accent trees and provide a nice contrast during the bleak and stark look of winter.

Black willow

Native to many eastern parts of North America, the black willow, Salix nigra, thrives in wet environments. This type of willow tree grows rapidly compared to other types of willow. Its signifying trait is the dark blackish, brown bark.

Corkscrew willows

Corkscrew willows, Salix matsudana, also known as Chinese willows, are perhaps the funkiest willow trees. They are identifiable by their uniquely twirly branches. Its leaves are beautifully vibrant in color, especially in the fall, and it works perfectly as an all-season tree, as it grows very fast and even when the leaves are gone, the Corkscrew willow provides a stunning and exciting look due to the spiral structure of its branches. 

How to Grow a Willow Tree

There are many ways to start growing a willow tree, but here are essential steps you can take to add a willow tree to your home’s landscaping project.

Take a willow tree cutting

To grow a willow tree, cutting must be taken from a living tree’s terminal, and be at least 18 inches long. From there, insert the cut branch into very moist soil from a live terminal branch that is 18 inches long. Insert the cut end into a pot with good drainage and in moist soil, or you can directly plant it into the ground. Make sure the soil maintains sufficient hydration until the roots grow. From there, let nature take over, and what the tree grow!

Growing from bare-root trees

This is the more common way to grow a willow tree. This method should utilize a young willow tree that is at least one year old. The roots should be very wet before planted, so make sure they are soaking in a bucket of water beforehand. There should also be ample room for the roots to grow, so push the soil down to depth and diameter that is twice that of the roots of the willow tree. Once planted, followup with primary tree care, and sooner than you know, your willow tree will grow into a marvelous specimen.

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