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How to Plant Dappled Willow Trees

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The dappled willow tree (Salix integra) is also sometimes referred to as the Japanese dappled willow and the Nishiki willow. It is a small-growing, deciduous tree that is usually grown as a shrub since it only grows to between 8 and 10 feet in height. The dappled willow has striking variegated, white-green foliage that is sometimes tinged with pink. Like all willow varieties, the dappled willow requires plenty of moisture and full sun for optimum growth.

Remove weeds and their roots from the planting area using a garden hoe. Make sure the area where you are going to plant the dappled willow is in full sun in cooler growing regions, and in partial shade where summertime temperatures are hot and arid for prolonged periods.

Turn over the soil in the planting area with a spade or fork. If the soil in the planting area is heavy or clay-like, mix around 1 to 2 cubic feet of peat moss, aged manure or dehydrated compost into the soil.

Set the root system of the bare-root dappled willow into a bucket. Cover the root system of the dappled willow with water and let it soak in the water for approximately 30 minutes. Soaking the root system prior to planting will help plump up the roots in case they have dried out.

Remove the dappled willow from its growing container, if you're planting a container grown dappled willow tree. Set the container on the ground and tap at the base of the container with a hammer or a trowel to remove the container from the root system.

Dig a planting hole in the center of the cultivated area that is 1 1/2 times the diameter of the dappled willow's root system, but approximately the same depth. If you are planting more than one dappled willow tree, space each of the planting holes 10 to 12 feet apart from one another.

Place the dappled willow into the planting hole. If you are planting a bare-root dappled willow tree, spread out its roots in all directions. If you are planting a container-grown dappled willow tree, loosen the root system with your fingers if there are any bound or matted roots present.

Scoop in garden soil to fill the planting hole about 2/3 full of soil. Pour water into the planting hole to help eliminate air pockets and settle the soil. Fill in the planting hole with soil once all the water has dissipated. Water the dappled willow slowly so the water can reach the roots.


Plant bare-root dappled willows in early spring, from late February through early March. Plant container-grown dappled willow trees in mid-to-late autumn, from early September to early October. Provide dappled willow trees with ample moisture during their first year of growth, but let the soil dry out a little in between watering. Provide approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water a week, if there is no supplemental rainfall.

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