If you are looking for an attractive shade tree, consider the curly willow (Salix matsudana), or corkscrew willow as it is sometimes called. This deciduous tree, with its twisted leaves and limbs, grows very fast and eventually reaches 40 feet in height. The curly willow's roots can be invasive, so plant it well away from septic tanks and underground pipes. This tree is hardy to USDA zone 5, and to the warmer areas in zone 4.
Choose a sunny planting site where the tree and its roots will have room to grow, well away from any structures.
Dig into the soil with the gardening fork, turning it and smashing any large clods of dirt. Remove any debris, such as rocks and roots.
Lay down a 3-inch layer of sand, a 2-inch layer of compost and a 1-inch layer of sphagnum peat moss. Use the gardening fork to mix this material in with the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Level the planting area.
Dig a hole the same depth and twice the width of the sprouted curly willow's pot.
Tip the plant out of the pot and place the roots in the hole. Fill the hole with soil, tamping gently around the base of the sapling.
Create a water well 2 feet from the base of the tree by mounding wet soil, 2 inches high and 5 inches thick, in a circle around the tree.
Fill the water well with water and allow it to drain.
Lay a 1-inch layer of mulch in the water well. Keep the mulch at least 2 inches away from the sapling's trunk.
Fill the water well daily until the tree is established.
Remove the water well once the sapling is established and you begin to see new growth. Apply a fresh layer of mulch at this time.