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Problems With Weeping Willows

By Cleveland Van Cecil ; Updated September 21, 2017
The weeping willow has its fair share of disease problems.
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The weeping willow tree is part of the Salix genus of plants. The crown of the plant is round, with long branches that hang down towards the ground. Due to its massive root system and large body, the weeping willow requires requires regular pruning to ensure it reaches a mature age of 30 years, says the University of Florida.


Weeping willows require placement away from residential structures, sewer pipes, septic systems or draining fields. The roots will otherwise interfere with the structures, causing damage. Weeping willow roots are aggressive and spread around three times the size from the trunk of the tree to the tree's canopy edge, says the University of Florida.


Weeping willow is susceptible to a variety of diseases. Root rot, caused by fungi or the roots' extended exposure to heavy flooding, prevents the tree from absorbing water and nutrients from the ground. Willow scabs or twig blight develops on the midribs of leaves as black or brown spots, says the University of Minnesota, and causes the leaf to drop. Cytospora canker, another common willow disease, causes small sunken areas of flesh along the branches, which, if left untreated, causes the branches to die back.


Weeping willow trees are a host to an array of insects, including scale, caterpillars, borers and aphids. The weeping willow canopy does not attract bird wildlife, leaving these bugs to breed and multiply. Borers can cause the tree to become yellow and lose leaves, says the North Dakota University extension. Aphids, borers, leaf beetle and others can cause limb and leaf death, and eventually the death of the willow, if left untreated.