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Weeping Willow Trees - Salix babylonica

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Weeping willow - weeping shape

Weeping willow - weeping shape

Photo © Flickr digitalART2

Overview:

Weeping willow is probably the most well known of the weeping trees. It is great for use as a focal point and in areas that are moist. They love water, so do not plant them near sewer or water lines, or there may be problems.

Latin Name:

The botanical name for this tree is Salix babylonica. The Salix genus is part of the Salicaceae (willow) family.

Common Names:

This species is the weeping willow.

Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones:

You can plant Salix babylonica in Zones 4-9a. Make sure to choose a variety that will work in your zone. If you are able to keep it well watered, it can also be grown in Zone 10.

Size & Shape of the Weeping Willow:

The weeping willow grows to a height and width of 35-50' on average, with a weeping shape.

Exposure:

Weeping willow should be grown in full sun.

Foliage/ Flowers/Fruit:

The leaves of Salix babylonica are 3-6" long and lance shaped. They turn yellow in the fall before dropping.

The yellow catkins appear in spring. They are unconspicuous. The weeping willow tree is dioecious.

The fruit is a 1/2" brown capsule.

Additional Weeping Willow Facts:

The willow tree produces salicylic acid, which was the model for our modern aspirin.

Weeping Willow Design Tips:

Weeping willow trees work well in areas that are naturally quite moist.

Since they love water, Salix babylonica should not be planted near sewer or water lines, or septic tanks, as they will naturally grow towards them and potentially break them.

Weeping willow trees do tend to shed a lot of leaves and twigs, and the tree is brittle.

The bark is reddish brown during the winter.

Plan on the weeping willow as a relatively short term tree - they live, on average, for about 30 years.

Weeping Willow Growing Tips:

The weeping willow grows best in moist soil that is well-draining. It is salt tolerant, and tolerant of a wide variety of soils and pHs.

Propagation of Salix babylonica is through cuttings.

Maintenance/Pruning:

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.

Pests & Diseases of the Weeping Willow:

Common pests include the gypsy moth, caterpillars, scales, aphids, and borers.

Weeping willow may be affected by willow scab, crown gall, willow blight, black canker, fungi, cankers, leaf spot, tar spot, powdery mildew, rust and root rot.

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