The flowering weeping willow tree is prized for its calm, graceful manner with long hanging branches. Those features of the weeping willow (Salix species) make it a widely planted part of the home landscape. Determine care requirements and disease susceptibility such as root problems for successful growth of this deciduous tree.
Weeping willow trees have a symmetrical, round form that "weeps," meaning the branches hang to the ground in an arched manner. The trees exhibit a swaying motion in the wind, making them an attractive addition to the landscape due to their interesting movement. With simple green leaves that turn yellow during autumn, flowers are inconspicuous and yellow in color. Flowering weeping willow trees grow to a height of 35 to 45 feet with a spread that may exceed the height.
Weeping willows are available in a variety of options. Most varieties have short life spans, living up to 30 years. Flowering weeping willow varieties that display inconspicuous yellow flowers include, but are not limited to: 'Aurea', a tree with branches in a golden-yellow hue; 'Babylon', a willow with a broad habit; and 'Crispa', a willow referred to as a "corkscrew" due to its leaves that curl into a circular formation.
Provide a large area for the growth of weeping willows, as their roots are aggressive and will cause damage to urban areas and small residential lots and can interfere with water and sewage lines. Flowering weeping willows thrive in full sunlight to minimal shade. Plant willows in alkaline, well-drained soil; tolerances include clay, loam and sand. Place trees near isolated areas of water, when possible, or away from heavily populated areas for "undisturbed" soil conditions as opposed to those in residential or urban areas, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Weeping willows thrive in moist sites, provided that the soil has good drainage. Prune young trees with the goal of a sturdy trunk in the center of the tree and widely crotched branches.
Flowering weeping willow trees are susceptible to a variety of pest infestations and diseases including scales, caterpillars, gypsy moths, galls, scabs and root rot. Pests can lead to complete tree defoliation. Diseases, particularly fungal infections, may lead to destruction of root systems and tree death. Maintain your tree according to proper requirements for a vigorous plant that can resist or fight infection. Prune, collect and destroy infected plant parts without creating wounds. Avoid waterlogged soil, as standing water provides a prime environment for fungi.
Culture and History
The active ingredient in the bark and twigs of the flowering weeping willow tree is salicylic acid. Indians chewed these parts of the tree for headache relief. This naturally-occurring acid is also a main ingredient in aspirin and blemish-fighting skin care. Additionally, the cultural significance of the willow tree includes the use of branches for Palm Sunday; the willow tree was considered a "tree of tears and sorrow" and a "tree of enchantment" across many cultures, according to the University of Georgia School of Forest Resources Extension.