|Weeping Willow Tree|
|Leaf Shape||Long and narrow|
|Mature Height||Up to 80 feet tall|
|Best Habitat||Moist soil and full sunlight
|Best Climate||Cool to warm|
|Output||Small, yellow flowers and brown seed capsules|
|Uses||Medicine, shade, furniture|
Weeping Willow Trees
Weeping Willow tree analogies run the gamut from waterfalls to fountains, Rapunzel's hair to legs of a dancer. Categorized as one of the most easily recognized trees on the planet, the Weeping Willow is an icon among its deciduous cousins. The tree's long, sweeping branches and foliage add beauty and grace to any landscape.
Appearance of the Tree
Identifying a Weeping Willow is quite easy, even for the average homeowner who is simply looking to enhance his property with the tree's delicate foliage.
Among the Weeping Willow's most notable characteristics are:
- Leaves: Long and narrow with fine-toothed edges. Each green leaf is attached to a drooping twig, though it appears to be joined to its neighbor. The leaves turn yellow in the fall and some can grow up to eight inches long.
- Bark: Gray, rough and covered with deep ridges and maze-like furrows. The Weeping Willow's bark can turn brittle as it ages.
- Fruit: Long, brown capsules, which contain seeds.
- Flowers: Small, yellow and fuzzy. he one-inch blooms resemble a small caterpillar and usually appear before leaves in the spring.
While most Weeping Willows don't grow beyond 40 feet, most have extra-large umbrella-like canopies that can spread up to 35 feet wide.
Weeping Willow Tree Types
There are several types of Weeping Willows, though most have one thing in common: massive roots. The Weeping Willow's expansive root system is constantly seeking out water and will damage water lines, sidewalks and trails in its quest for moisture. Still, if you have the space to accommodate the tree you might consider the following popular specimens:
- Dwarf Weeping Willow: The ornamental tree has many of the same characteristics as traditional Weeping Willows, though it is smaller and better suited for small gardens.
- White Weeping Willow: The Willow's leaves are covered with tiny, white hairs which make the tree look like it is covered with snow.
- Crack Weeping Willow: Native to Europe, this type of Weeping Willow is smaller and more susceptible to cracking than its cousins. The Crack Willow's grayish brown trunk tends to split near branches.
- Golden Curls Weeping Willow: The tree gets its name from its gold-colored bark and twisted, spiraling branches.
Where the Weeping Willow Grows
The Weeping Willow is native to China, though it has been embraced by Turkey and other countries around the world. These days you can find the tree growing throughout North America, including:
- New York
The trees can prosper if they are planted in very moist soils. Typically, you will find Weeping Willows near bodies of water, such as rivers and lakes. While the tree is adaptable to a variety of weather conditions, it does not fare well in extreme temperatures. When given access to full sunlight and a great deal of water, the Weeping Willow can easily grow 10 feet in the course of a year.
In addition to its ability to provide shade and allure to green space, the Weeping Willow offers a litany of other popular uses, including:
- Medicine: Native Americans used to consume the bark of the Weeping Willow to cure headaches. These days salicylic acid is extracted from the tree and used to make aspirin. In addition, in some cultures, the flowers of the Weeping Willow are added to tea to cure toothaches.
- Sporting Equipment: The wood from Weeping Willows is strong and can take a beating without bruising or denting. Consequently, it is often used to craft baseball and cricket bats.
- Furniture: Cabinets, doors, boxes and floors are also made from Weeping Willow timber.
- Environmental: Weeping Willow's ability to tolerate sulfur dioxide and prevent water and soil erosion is why it is often planted to combat the effects of soil contamination.
For most people, the Weeping Willow is treasured for its natural beauty. The trees are ideal for picnicking under or leaning up against with a good book.
Few trees offer more drama than the Weeping Willow. World-famous botanist Carl Linnaeus named the tree after mistakenly believing that it was referenced in the Bible. It turns out that the tree he was thinking of was a poplar. Still, the name stuck and for centuries the Weeping Willow has been used as the symbol for grief, sadness and sorrow.
Today, you will find carvings of the tree on many gravestones. In addition, Claude Monet painted a series of Weeping Willow tree scenes to honor the fallen French soldiers of World War I, a war in which his own son fought.
Weeping Willow Diseases
Weeping willows are large, hardy and seemingly indestructible. Unfortunately, the attractive trees are prone to numerous diseases, such as:
- Willow Scab: The fungus appears as green and black spores on the underside of infected leaves. If left to fester the foliage withers and quickly dies. The infection can also affect tree's twigs.
- Cankers: Fungus-fueled black cankers can attack the tree's bark and infect the entire Weeping Willow. Limbs with cankers should be pruned immediately if the tree is to be saved.
- Powdery Mildew: This fungal disease attacks the trees leaves and stems. It consists of patches of white powder that overtake the foliage and cause defoliation.
Weeping Willow Care
There are a number of tips to consider prior to adding Weeping Willows to your property. Among the most important include:
- Wa tering: Weeping Willows are avid drinkers and its roots will actively seek out moisture. Consequently, it's best to plant the tree at least 50 feet away from water lines, structures and sidewalks.
- Sunlight: The tree needs a site in full sun in order to thrive.
- Planting: Weeping Willow planting should be done in the fall or early spring. The tree does not do well in extreme heat or cold.
- Pruning: All pruning should take place in the fall and should be concentrated on the lower branches. Upper branched should be allowed to droop to the ground.
Finally, during the first growing season, keep the base of the tree free of weeds and grass so the roots have room to expand and pests won't have a home to breed.