Willows are trees that are mostly found in very moist locations and can tolerate cold very well. Willow hybrids are trees that are created by cross-breeding different but related trees through sexual reproduction. Species that have different biological characteristics, such as disease resistance and drought resistance, are combined in order to create trees that can survive in most circumstances.
Hybrid willows have been developed that are capable of growing much faster than conventional willows. These hybrid willows have high metabolisms, which help them take up substances in the soil much more quickly, according to Land Saga. These willows are able to absorb soil contaminants and release them through transpiration. This ability is beneficial for environmental restoration when soils are contaminated with substances such as heavy metals.
The willow wood acts as a great burning medium. Hybrid willows are used to construct artificial wetlands that can be used to restore wildlife that have been killed off through human activities, according to Land Saga. They are also useful for soil conservation. Soil conservation is the effort to prevent soil erosion, where soil is moved from one location and transported to another location by natural forces. Willows block wind and other forces that can move soil from one location to another.
Hybrid willows are often sold in a dried and dormant state. Scratching off some of the bark on the willow hybrid will reveal either a black or a green interior. A green interior indicates that the hybrid is still alive, while the black interior indicates that it is dead. The willow appears dead, but will begin growing when it has been planted in a suitable location. The planted hybrid willow takes six weeks to acclimate to the new setting, according to Fast Growing Trees. In situations of severe heat or drought, the hybrid willow should be planted in a location that is shaded. The hybrid willow should not be planted during the winter.
Hybrid willows are susceptible to weeds when they are young. The best way to protect the hybrid willow from weeds is by establishing mulch. As the hybrid willow grows larger, it becomes far more resistant to pests, disease, extreme weather, various soil conditions and moisture levels.
Hybrid willows are used as bioenergy crops, which means that they are grown so that they can be used as fuels, according to Land Saga. For gardeners, hybrid willows are also very good at acting as screens that establish privacy for backyards.