The bush willow is a large tree that prefers to grow near bodies of water and rivers. Its branches slope to the ground. Such a tree is characterized by its unpretentiousness, due to which even an inexperienced gardener can cope with its cultivation.
Properties of weeping willow
The weeping willow, which is a deciduous tree, is among the most common species of vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere. According to experts, the willow is an ancient tree, as some of its species existed on Earth before the Ice Age began.
In popular usage, the willow is referred to as the willow, birch, willow, willow, tallow, etc. Weeping willow or Babylon willow is a species of woody plants of willow family. Its maximum life span is no more than 100 years.
The appearance of the willow depends largely on the species. For example, the weeping willow reaches an average height of 16 to 20 meters.
The spectacular crown consists of long branches hanging almost to the ground. The branches have a glossy green-yellow or red color surface.
Long leaf blades can reach 10 to 16 centimeters in length but are only about 2 centimeters wide. The leaves vary in coloration along the entire length of the plate: greenish-blue at the top, dark green at the base, and pale gray edging.
This plant has spikelets that form after or before the leaves appear.
The earrings are ovoid in shape and grow on small twigs. The earrings have an unremarkable greenish-yellow coloration.
Flowers, fruits and roots
The plant has a well-developed root system, so it is often used to strengthen the soil. However, the wetter the soil on the site, the more underdeveloped the root system will be.
The willow forms small, box-shaped fruits with seeds inside.
They are very small and have pubescence on the surface. The flowers of such a plant have a yellowish-white coloration. Its flowering begins in the last spring or first summer weeks.
Some 500 species of willow have been found by specialists. In doing so, they are found in many different parts of the world.
However, most of them are found in the Northern Hemisphere. In nature, the weeping willow can be found in Siberia, northern China, as well as in northern Europe and America. Also, this species can be found in central Russia. Most often the weeping willow can be found on the shores of lakes and rivers.
As with most other plants, the weeping willow has several species.
The species that are most common in culture will be described below.
White weeping willow
This powerful tree is frost-resistant. It is about 25 meters tall. While the plant is young, it has a narrow crown. However, when it is young, its shape changes and becomes spread out.
The main stems point upwards and the side shoots droop downwards towards the ground. The foliage first develops an unusual silvery hue, which changes to a pale green color over time. This type of willow is light-loving, but it can also grow in shade.
Willow yellow weeping
This variety is a fast-growing species. However, it prefers to grow in well-lit areas.
The foliage is medium-sized, about 12 centimeters. Winter frosts do not harm the plant, it withstands lower temperatures even down to minus 40 degrees. Thin shoots are distinguished by increased flexibility and light coloring, which is the reason for the tree's name. It does not require soil.
This variety has another name - Siberian Sheluga.
The size of an adult plant is medium, from 8 to 12 m. This species prefers to grow on riverbanks. The foliage has a green color, with the inner part of it slightly yellow. The branches are dark brown in color and may have a patina on their surface.
Yellow willow or golden willow
This powerful tree can reach a height of 20 meters.
It does not require any special soil conditions and grows well even in thin soil. Endures both summer heat and winter frosts perfectly.
This is an unusual dwarf ornamental species. Its appearance is very attractive, and therefore it is often used to decorate garden plots. This species is low-growing, the height of an adult tree usually does not exceed three meters.
The flowering plant smells very pleasant, with a smell similar to hyacinth. The beginning of flowering is in the last days of May. It can be used for solo planting as well as for group planting.
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Planning a Planting Site for the Weeping Willow
Selecting a site for the willow
The most suitable planting site for the weeping willow should be chosen paying special attention to the ground conditions. It has already been mentioned above that such a tree can be grown in any soil. However, if you want it to grow and develop within the norm, then it is better to choose sandy or loamy soil for its planting. In this case, its humidity can be any, but the willow feels best in moist soil.
In nature, willow reproduction occurs by seed.
In this case, gardeners propagate the tree by cuttings or seedlings. As a rule, gardeners do not have difficulties with the acquisition and planting of seedlings in the open ground. After all, what can be easier to buy a ready-made tree and plant it in suitable soil.
Propagation and planting of weeping willow
Preparing cuttings of weeping willow is recommended in winter. The best choice for cutting is the middle part of the shoot, which must not be more than two years old.
For a successful rooting, the following rules must be observed:
- A cuttings should reach a length of approximately 30 centimeters (not more than that);
- Rooting in a hotbed, greenhouse or heated room.
- For the cuttings to take root and grow faster, provide regular and frequent watering and loosening of the substrate. If desired, the seedling can be fed with solutions of agents that stimulate root growth.
- The cuttings should give roots fairly quickly, after which they will start to grow. At this time, however, it should not be planted in the open ground.
The seedling should spend one winter in warmth. Then after one year, it is planted in the open ground.
Care for weeping willow
Throughout the summer and on hot days, the plant should be abundantly watered. With dwarf varieties, wetting the crown itself by sprinkling is also recommended on hot days. During the summer months, water the tree every day.
In winter, it can be watered once every 7 days.
The willow needs fertilizing immediately after planting in a permanent place and still for the first time. However, you do not have to give nutrients at all. If the ground contains the right amount of nutrients the tree does not need to be fertilized at all.
Not every willow tree can be pruned as it can grow to an average of 15 to 20 metres.
If pruning is possible and necessary it is advisable to do it in the spring. Proper pruning has a positive effect not only on the appearance but also on the health of the plant.
Diseases and pests
The climbing willow that grows in the open ground is subject to diseases and pests. Any preventative measures, however, cannot provide a hundred percent guarantee. Therefore, it is necessary to study in advance the problems that a gardener may encounter in the process of growing such a tree, as well as to understand how to cope with them.
The most dangerous diseases are such as:
- black or brown leaf spot;
- mucus dew;
- white heart rot (destroys the trunk from within);
- crown gall;
- white scab,etc. etc.
To prevent the appearance of the most various diseases and pests, the basic preventive measures should not be forgotten. To do this, conduct regular, thorough inspections of willow trees. Remove any dried and fallen leaves in good time, treat the root zone and only moisten the soil when really necessary.
Pest control can be achieved by regular preventative treatments with special products which can be purchased at specialist dealers.
Significance and use
The bush willow has a very striking appearance and is also a useful plant. Useful properties:
- The tree is often used as a living fence. In doing so, it gives a dense, cool and rather large shade.
- The plant is able to take root even in depleted soil, and in doing so it helps to improve it.
As a result, it creates favorable conditions for growing more demanding crops.
- The twigs of such a plant are called vines. They are used for furniture weaving.
- Wood of willow is quite popular in carpentry.
Woody willow in landscape design
If you have an artificial pond or a small river on your property, a gorgeous weeping willow can be its main decoration.
This plant looks the most impressive near ponds and therefore landscape designers often use it in their work. The dwarf and ornamental varieties of this plant can make a decoration not only for the garden but for the house as well.
Mighty and beautiful weeping willow is suitable for every design. Not only does it have a spectacular and rather unusual appearance, but it also promotes comfortable conditions for the growth and development of other crops.
Willow - species and varieties