Hybrid willow trees developed for use as hedges or screens are popular for windbreaks, to create privacy, hide an eyesore or designate a boundary. Often called shrub willows, they can grow to 10 feet or more in one season with minimal care once they are established. Because hybrid willows can grow taller than expected, be sure the neighbor's yard or garden will not receive excessive shade from your willow privacy screen. Hybrid willow trees can be sheared or cut back to control growth.
Prepare the area for planting the privacy screen of willow trees. Clear the area of weeds and other plants that are unsightly or might compete with the willow hedge using a hoe, shovel or mechanical tool.
Decide on the number of willow trees you need to plant to provide a privacy screen. A thick screen can be provided in two or three years with trees planted 3 to 5 feet apart.
Dig holes with the shovel twice as large as the root ball of each tree. This helps loosen the soil around the roots of the trees once they are planted so they can get established easily. The holes should be deep enough so the trees are planted at the same depth they are in the containers or no more than 1 inch deeper.
Place the willow trees into the holes and fill the holes around the roots of the trees with soil removed from the hole. Willow trees are highly adaptable, so they do not need any amendments added to the planting soil. Adding water to the planting hole while the soil is being added helps form a good soil seal around the roots of the newly planted willows and prevents air pockets from forming around the roots.
Spread a 1 inch layer of mulch around the root base of the willow trees to suppress weed growth and conserve moisture. Also, the mulch will make the area look attractive and uniform.