How to Take Care of Weeping Willows


Weeping willow (Babylon weeping willow) or Salix babylonica, is a member of the Salicaceae (willow) family and is known for the long-sweeping branches that typically reach the ground. Weeping willow trees come in varieties adapted to USDA hardiness zones 2 through 10. This deciduous tree is fast-growing and can reach heights of 45 to 70 feet with equivalent size spreads. Weeping willow care begins at planting to ensure a proper growing environment.

Step 1

Select an area to grow weeping willows that provides full sun to partial shade and moist but well-draining soil. Plant weeping willows in locations that allow room for their massive height and width.

Step 2

Cultivate an area for planting weeping willows two to four times the width of the rootball and the same depth. Dig a hole in the center for the weeping willow tree.

Step 3

Wash off some of the growing medium and loosen or cut off any damaged roots. Place the weeping willow tree in the hole at the same height it was in the container. Backfill the hole. Pat down the soil gently.

Step 4

Create a watering ring wider in diameter than the planting hole. Create a barrier at least 3 inches high and wide using leftover dirt. Fill the ring with water. Allow it to drain into the root system. Add more soil after the soil settles, if needed. Fill the ring with water weekly for the first season unless rainfall provides at least 1 inch of water.

Step 5

Cover an area extending 3 feet from the trunk of the weeping willows with at least 3 inches of mulch. Keep the area near the tree's trunk clear and replace annually as needed.

Step 6

Apply fertilizer sparingly to growing weeping willows. Feed them with a basic 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 fertilizer as directed on the label. Keep the fertilizer away from the trunk, spreading it evenly over the area surrounding the weeping willows. Saturate the tree with water after fertilizing.

Step 7

Prune the weeping willow trees during the dormant season in the fall. Cut away suckers emerging from around the base of the tree. Remove lower branches if a clearance area underneath the weeping willows is desired. Shorten the length of the hanging branches. Remove any weak, touching or damaged branches found. Prune only as needed, and allow the weeping willows to form naturally.

Tips and Warnings

  • Stay clear of areas near underground pipes, sidewalks or septic tank drainage fields when deciding where to grow weeping willow trees. The aggressive weeping willow tree's roots could cause severe damage and grow three times the length of the tree's canopy as well as growing at ground level, according to University of Florida.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Mechanized tiller
  • Pruning shears
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer


  • Floridata: Salix babylonica
  • University of Florida: Salix spp. Weeping Willow
  • Backyard Gardener: Salix babylonica
  • Fast-Growing Trees: Weeping Willow Tree Planting Instructions

Who Can Help

  • Arbor Day Foundation: Weeping Willow
  • North Carolina State University: Salix babylonica
Keywords: Babylon weeping willow, Salix babylonica, weeping willow care, plant weeping willows, weeping willow trees

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published on Yahoo!, the Travel Channel and Intel.