An artificial or natural body of water located on a homestead or suburban plot, beautiful trees are often planted, which for better growth require increased humidity of the air. Among the most highly decorative trees of this plan includes a twisted Sverdlovsk willow. This plant is notable for its undemanding care, and it also has an elegant crown of a spectacular weeping shape.
Peculiarities of Sverdlovsk twisted willow
Selling seedlings of Sverdlovsk twisted willow are sometimes presented under another name - curly willow. Such a tree is highly decorative: its twisted branches are quite curved (curling like curls), while they are decorated with narrow leaf plates, the shape of which is a bit like a spiral.
Depending on the species the height of the tree will vary from 4 to 13 meters. Any of the varieties can easily tolerate formative pruning. If desired, such a tree can be used to create a spectacular garden bonsai.
The root system is spreading and powerful. This is why the twisted willow holds up well in the soil.
Because of this, it is often planted on slopes to prevent soil erosion. The roots are not deeply buried in the soil. So, loosen up the soil surface near the trunk to a maximum depth of 10 centimeters, otherwise the roots may be damaged.
There are only two varieties of this plant growing in Russia: Matsudana (Salix matsudana) and Uralskaya, or Sverdlovskaja izvilistaja (Sverdlovskaja izvilistaja). These varieties differ from each other in appearance and size.
The flowers appear only on the branches of Matsudana, and it blooms in May. However, the willow is not valued for its flowers but rather for its unusual drooping, curved branches and spiral-shaped leaves.
Sverdlovskaya Curly Willow 2 is a winter-hardy willow with curly and weeping branches
There are quite a few curly willow varieties, with the two most important ones standing out in breeding:
- Matsuda willow. All these varieties are characterized by low resistance to frost.
- Sverdlovskaya ruler.
The varieties included in this group are frost-resistant and are not afraid of the harsh winter of Russia's middle latitudes.
Sverdlovsk Twisted (Uralskaya)
The very first variety of Sverdlovsk Twisted Willow was bred in Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg) in the Botanical Garden of the Urals Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The tree does not reach more than four meters in height. The wide-oval or globular crown has a medium density. Strongly twisted and drooping branches have brownish-red bark.
This variety does not produce flowers. It can be propagated by cuttings only, on average, only 7 out of 10 cuttings successfully give roots. The nurseries are selling seedlings labeled as Sverdlovskaya izvistaya 2 and Sverdlovskaya izvistaya 3. These seedlings are the next generation of selection. Seedlings with a number 2 mark have a plant height of about 12 meters, the foliage is downy and due to the drooping branches the crown has a pyramidal shape.
Seedlings number 3 are stunted trees, about 5 meters high, with curvilinear branches and foliage.
Breeders have also selected dwarf varieties that grow to a height of no more than 250cm. They are numbered 676, 576 and 476. Unlike the species, their branches have a pale olive color. These cultivars are not only very compact, but they are also highly resistant to frost.
Such a tree has a more showy and graceful appearance because its branches are thinner and its growth is lower.
Matsudana willow (Salix matsudana)
Unlike the Ural varieties, Matsudana willow blooms. It is represented by trees and shrubs, the height of which depends directly on the variety and can reach 3.5-13 meters. The branches are very brittle and easy to break.
Upright or hanging branches have pale yellow or olive-colored bark which gradually turns brown. Old branches are often bare.
The length of narrow leaf plates, pointed at the top, varies from 50 to 100 mm, but they are only 10-15 mm wide. The front surface of the leaves is deep green, while the underside is white and bluish. The lower surface of young leaflets is silky to the touch and covered with hairs, but with time it becomes almost completely bare.
The leaf petioles are short (2 to 8 millimeters).
The plant blooms in May. Its branches are decorated with male and female flowers of a creamy-yellow hue, which are shaped like earrings. The flowers are 10 to 15 mm long and the females are thinner than the males. The mature fruit looks like a capsule with lots of little hairy seeds inside.
There are two varieties of this plant on the market: Erythroflexuosa and Tortuosa. These varieties are quite different from each other. The Tortuosa willow is about 3.5 meters tall and has straight, drooping branches decorated with spiraling foliage. The plant is not susceptible to frost, so it is only grown in the southern part of Russia.
The second variety is characterized by slower growth, as well as a tendency to self-seeding. Therefore, such a tree should be pruned every year in order to shape the crown. The plant reaches a height of 4 to 6 meters. Such a willow is very heat-loving and can die even with a slight drop in temperature.
Where to grow
In Russia, only varieties bred by Ural breeders can be grown in the condition of middle latitudes.
They do not need a shelter for wintering if there is a lot of snow during the winter time. With the onset of spring, the trees begin to actively grow and develop. Matsuda willow gets a lot of frostbite even in a relatively warm winter, which often leads to its death. As a result, it is planted in parks or gardens only in southern regions.
Planning and care
To grow well, the Sverdlovsk willow twisted willow should be planted on not too high elevation or on the bank of a water body, and the soil should be loose and rich in nutrients.
Such a plant should be watered regularly and abundantly. Please note that this willow tolerates stagnant water for a short time, but even a short dry spell can be very harmful to it. These should be carried out at the end of the autumn or at the start of spring (before the sap starts to flow). To do this, you need to cut out those branches that thicken the crown. Dry, frost-damaged, injured or simply unnecessary branches should be removed with secateurs.
This willow needs a lot of light, so it should not be planted near tall trees with high density crowns. It looks most effective in an open area, where there are no other trees. Its best neighbors are low groundcover plants or green grass.
Propagation of Sverdlovsk twisted willow
Sverdlovsk twisted willow is propagated by cuttings. Last year's branches are used to make cuttings.
From the tops of the branches cut cuttings 10 to 15 centimeters long, and do it before the buds open. Plant cuttings in the soil and cover them with foil, creating a mini greenhouse. Without special care, the cuttings should give roots after 1.5-2 months.
Diseases and pests
This willow is highly resistant to pests and diseases.
However, in order to avoid possible troubles, gardeners recommend, regular treatments of the tree with insecticidal and fungicidal preparations for prevention. For this purpose, 2 or 3 treatments in the spring time with a break of 1 week.
Use in landscape design
The ornamental varieties of Sverdlovsk twisted willow have a spectacular appearance, due to which they are often used both for group and solo plantings. Most often they are used for landscaping streams and ponds. Branches sloping to the surface of the soil look especially spectacular near ponds.
Still such a tree is planted on lawns and in places of rest. Its crown forms a cool shade and successfully complements a green lawn.
ZaGardener: curly willow