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Everything You Need to Know About Weeping Willow Trees

Underneath the canopy of a weeping willow tree in spring.

Underneath the canopy of a weeping willow tree in spring.

About the Weeping Willow Tree

Offering up to 35 feet of shade and growing as much as 8 to 10 feet a year, the weeping willow tree stands as a beautiful ornamental giant among the other tree species. This quickly growing shade tree is recognizable not only because of its long, drooping branches, which create a canopy-like effect but also for its name.

Care and Maintenance of a Weeping Willow

Because the weeping willow is relatively low maintenance, it may not need much fertilizer, if any. Avoid using too much fertilizer; “sparingly” is the key. They can grow in many different types of soils. If you decide to use fertilizer, use an organic blend and add it to the soil around the tree; don't put it directly on the tree.

After planting, the tree will need some basic maintenance. The weeping willow prefers moist and cool conditions. Many landscapers use this tree to take care of areas where water tends to accumulate. This not only provides ample water for the tree but also eliminates the problem of standing water.

Trees planted near natural water supplies like ponds or creeks may not need to be watered as often. But regular watering during dry months for at least the first two years of the tree's life will greatly benefit the tree's health. The leaves of the tree are a good indicator of whether or not it's getting the right amount of water. Droopy leaves indicate either too much or too little water, while crisp, healthy leaves indicate it's getting the proper amount.

It’s a good idea to keep grass and weeds trimmed back and away from the tree for the first few years, and the tree should be pruned regularly. The beauty of the willow tree is that it produces branch-like “fronds,” which can droop all the way to the ground, growing as much as 30 feet in length. A trim each season will promote the healthy growth of the tree for the following year.

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Willow trees are so beautiful.

Willow trees are so beautiful.

Weeping Willow Lifespan

Unfortunately, the lifespan of a weeping willow is shorter than most trees. Many do not live much past the age of 30. Pests like aphids and tent caterpillars can destroy the tree. Thus, you should frequently check for conditions like powdery mildew, cankers, abnormal growths, or discoloration. If you need assistance in caring for your tree or believe that your tree is unhealthy, you should contact your local tree service company as soon as possible. The best defense against such pests is to keep your tree healthy because insects are less likely to attack a healthy tree.

Because of their grace and beauty, these trees have become one of the most sought-after species for landscaping. Weeping willows have also been the subject of many myths and legends. A popular myth is that the weeping willow once stood tall and strong but was so touched by the death of two lovers that it dropped its branches in sadness and could never rise again. One thing is for certain—we have been blessed to have such a big and beautiful giant decorate our landscapes.

A weeping willow on a lake by a castle.

A weeping willow on a lake by a castle.


The Examiner-1 on June 27, 2013:

I was reading your Hub on the willow tree and I thought it was interesting, and useful if you were planning on growing them.

There was only one word that made me think (simply my weird mind). You had mentioned 'droopy branches' and I wondered how would you know which were droopy on weeping willow tree. LOL

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