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Weeping Willow

Salix babylonica

Most people recognize this graceful tree from a distance by its long, pendulous branches that hang like ropes. Beloved for its brilliant yellow fall color and ability to grow in moist, boggy soil, weeping willow grows into a large tree in a short amount of time. Best reserved for natural planting areas and large, open spaces, weeping willow suits an acreage or farm. Its beauty doubles when you can see it reflected in a pond.

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Light:

Sun

Type:

Height:

20 feet or more

Width:

Up to 40 feet

Foliage Color:

Problem Solvers:

Zones:

6-8

Propagation

Planting Partners for Weeping Willow

Call on weeping willow to add color and texture to a large planting site that has wet soil. Create a wildlife-friendly habitat by pairing weeping willow with other trees that thrive in moist soil, such as river birch, downy serviceberry, hackberry, and bald cypress. Underplant the trees with shrubs that offer food for wildlife. Black and red chokeberry, gray dogwood, and several species of viburnum are excellent shrubs for wet soil.

Weeping Willow Care

Weeping willow grows well in full sun or part shade and a variety of soil conditions. The trees acclimate to many soil conditions: wet and boggy, well-drained, or even a little dry. It grows especially well near ponds and streams where the soil is often too moist for other tree species. Weeping willow grows fast—as much as 24 inches a year—so take its mature size into consideration.

Plant a weeping willow transplant or bare-root plant in spring and water it regularly during the first growing season to encourage a strong root system. Deer tend to like to eat its tender new growth, so fence young trees.

A variety of pests plague the tree. Blights, powdery mildew, leaf spots, and cankers are all common. Insect pests include aphids, scale, borers, lacebugs, and caterpillars. It is susceptible to cracking because of its weak wood, and branches are commonly damaged in wind, snow, and ice. Litter from leaves, twigs, and branches can be a nuisance in landscapes. Also, weeping willow's shallow roots make it tough to garden underneath.

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