Weeping willows grow rapidly, with branches that form large umbrella canopies that are wonderful for shade when trained. They make excellent choices for single plantings near lakes or streams, and they provide dense, graceful foliage from early spring to late fall. Several varieties of weeping willow are available to accommodate individual needs, habitats and effects desired.
Willows grow in all zones and are adaptable to almost all types soil, even tolerating poor drainage and acidic soils. They like full sun or partial shade, and lots of water, but will tolerate drier habitats, with regular watering. They do best in areas where there is room for the spread of both canopy and roots.
Varieties of Weeping Willow
Weeping willows grow from 30 to 50 feet, both tall and around. They have long, thin leaves on green or brown limbs, with a profound weeping habit.
The massive growth of the golden weeping willow may reach more than 80 feet, with an equally large spread. Bright yellow twigs are covered with bright green and pale yellow-green foliage, that "weeps" down in a pendulous canopy.
Wisconsin weeping willows grow from 40 to 50 feet, in all directions, with broad, bluish-green foliage and a less pronounced weeping habit.
Corkscrew willows grow up to 30 feet in height and have up to a 20-foot spread, with twisting limbs and leaves that are curled into spiraling patterns.
The drooping branches of weeping willows often hang so low that passage beneath is difficult. Trim back older side branches, and direct new growth into a main stem and stake for high, scaffolding limbs that are adequate for shade.
Weeping willows have shallow surface roots, so plant them away from sidewalks. Also, other plants may not do well beneath them.
Roots may cause damage, if planted too close to septic systems or water sources. They can spread up to three times as wide as the canopy.
Weeping willows produce a considerable amount of yard litter.
Willows are easily rooted from cuttings placed in water. Willow branches contain a natural plant hormone, indolebutyric acid (IBA), that is found in rooting compounds, and they sprout roots very quickly.