How to Plant Willow Trees in Ontario


Ontario gardeners can plant several types of willow, including weeping willow, black willow and laurel willow, according to Ontario Trees. These willows are native to Ontario, so they have been growing quite well in the area for centuries. Tree Canada recommends planting willow trees in the spring when frost danger has passed, so the willow tree can establish roots and adjust to the shock of transplanting before winter chill sets in.

Step 1

Choose the location for your willow tree. Different types of willows can grow to different sizes and may have slightly different preferences for the amount of sunlight and the type of soil. Laurel willows can grow in full sun or part shade and prefers a naturally moist soil like that found near streams. The black willow can also grow in full sun to part shade and tolerates any type of soil. Weeping willows can tolerate most soils but they need full sun and frequent watering to grow.

Step 2

Prepare the site. Using a shovel, dig a hole that's twice as deep and twice as wide as the container holding your willow sapling. Remove any debris such as rocks or sticks from the hole. Then jab your shovel at the bottom of the hole to roughen up the soil. This helps your willow's roots penetrate the firm soil.

Step 3

Remove your willow tree from its container. Massage the root ball with your hand to break apart the roots. Untangle tightly wound roots with your hand as much as you can. When you've broken up the root cluster and spread out the roots, place the willow sapling in the hole so it sits at the same level in the ground as it did in the container. Check that the tree is vertical, not tilted.

Step 4

Fill in the hole with soil. Don't pack the soil down, just mound it gently over the tree roots.

Step 5

Water the willow sapling until the soil compresses around the tree and the ground is sodden.

Step 6

Create a soil berm or elevated bank around the base of the tree to make a basin. Then fill the basin with water. According to Eastern Ontario Urban Forests Network, a tree 2 inches in diameter needs 30 gallons of water per week. Water the tree by filling the berm. If it rains two or more days per week, cut back on your watering routine.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • Ontario Trees: Species
  • North Carolina State University: Planting Trees & Shrubs
  • Bluestem Nursery: Laurel Willow
  • Bluestem Nursery: Black Willow
  • Bluestem Nursery: Weeping Willow

Who Can Help

  • Tree Canada: Tree Planting Guide
  • Eastern Ontario Urban Forest Network: Maintaining a Newly Planted Tree
Keywords: Ontario willow trees, tree planting, willow trees, planting willow trees

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.