Growing a White Willow


When most people think of the willow, they immediately picture a weeping willow. Although the weeping willow is a popular landscape tree, it is not the only variety in the willow family. The white willow will grow up to 65 feet tall when left on its own. Or, the tree can be cut down yearly and will spring up again to form a shrub. Growing a white willow requires care similar to other willow cultivators.

Step 1

Select a location for a white willow in full sun and moist soil. Willows grow well near bodies of water such as lakes, streams or rivers.

Step 2

Dig a planting hole for your willow twice as wide as the tree's root ball. The planting hole should not be deeper than the tree's root ball. Plant white willows at the same soil level as they were grown in the nursery.

Step 3

Check your willow tree daily and water it any time the ground does not feel saturated. Continue this practice until the tree's roots become established. White willow trees like moist soil.

Step 4

Water your willow tree weekly during drought conditions. The ground should feel saturated with water to the touch.

Step 5

Prune your white willow anytime the tree becomes damaged. The white willow tree's brittle limbs are susceptible to wind damage. Remove damaged limbs where they meet the trunk of the tree. Also remove dead or diseased limbs, limbs that rub one another or limbs that cross through the center of the tree's canopy.

Step 6

Fertilize white willows in early spring before the trees produce leaves. Select a granulated, nitrogen-rich (30-0-10) fertilizer. Spread the fertilizer in a ring around the drip line of your tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Garden hose
  • Branch loppers
  • Pruning saw
  • Nitrogen-rich (30-0-10) granulated fertilizer


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Tree Fertilization: A Guide for Fertilizing New and Established Trees in the Landscape
  • Iowa State University Extension: Iowas Plants
  • Ohio State University: Ohio Trees

Who Can Help

  • NC State University: Salix alba var. sericea - White Willow
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Trees
Keywords: white willow tree, willow tree care, planting willow trees

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."