Weeping willow tree leaves hang from the branches, giving the tree its weeping look. Most weeping willows prefer moist, well-drained soil, and are found near rivers and lakes. The trees can be part of your landscaping if they're properly watered and cared for. A weeping willow is a high-maintenance tree because of the amount of water it needs and because of leaf drop during the fall.
The common name for the Salix babylonica is weeping willow. This tree is the most common weeping willow in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 6 to 8. The deciduous tree grows rapidly, and it is invasive. It needs partial sun and moist soil. The weeping willow grows up to 50 feet high, with a 40-foot crown. The leaves grow up to 6 inches in length. It is one of the first trees that leaves in the spring, and one of the last to drop leaves in the fall.
The Salix alba's common name is white willow. It requires full sun--more than six hours of continuous sunlight per day. The white willow is invasive, and should not be planted near sewer lines or other underground plumbing and utility lines. It grows up to 75 feet in height. The white willow thrives in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8, and needs moist, well-drained soil. The long branches give it a weeping look. The main feature, other than its weeping branches, is the yellow twigs seen in early spring.
The Salix caprea is commonly known as the European pussy willow or goat willow. It thrives in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8. It prefers sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Given the best environmental factors, its growth is rapid. This is a small tree, only growing up to 15 feet high with a 15-foot crown. It produces catkins in the early spring. The catkins grow up to 2 inches long. The leaves are dark green, and grow up to 4 inches long. This particular willow withstands heavy pruning and can be used as landscape border.