How to Care for Dappled Willow Trees

Overview

Dappled willow trees, also called Salix integra "Hakuro Nishiki," are some of the smallest willow trees, growing only 4 to 6 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide. They are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8 where the temperature does not drop below minus-10 degrees Fahrenheit. Dappled willows are susceptible to disease and pests and as such require special care to thrive.

Step 1

Plant the dappled willow tree in an area with full sun or light shade and moist, fertile well-drained soil. The tree will tolerate sandy, clay and somewhat dry soil once established. It prefers somewhat acidic to somewhat alkaline soil, ranging in pH from 5.6 to 7.8.

Step 2

Water the willow, keeping it evenly moist the first growing season after planting. This will allow it to develop a deep root system. Do not allow it to dry out between waterings. Stop watering a few weeks before frost and begin again in the early spring.

Step 3

Fertilize each spring with a general-purpose fertilizer. This will improve the color variegation of the plant throughout the growing season. Follow the directions on the package for application instructions.

Step 4

Prune the dappled willow in early winter or early spring when it lies dormant. Cut out any dead, diseased, infested or broken branches with pruning shears. For a short, dense plant, prune all branches down to 12 inches tall every few years. For a more open, taller plant, prune 1/3 of the branches down to the ground every or every other year.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

References

  • North Carolina State University Plant Fact Sheet: Salix Integra "Hakuro Nishiki"
  • Michigan State University Extension: Salix Integra "Hakuro Nishiki"
  • University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension: Summer Garden Color
  • Midwest Garden Tips: Hakuro-Nishiki Dappled Willow

Who Can Help

  • National Gardening Association: USDA Hardiness Zone Finder
Keywords: planting dappled willow, watering dappled willow, dappled willow care

About this Author

Sarah Morse recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature. She has been freelancing for three months and got her start writing for an environmental website.