About Globe Willow Trees
Globe willows (Salix matsudana ‘Navajo’) are fast growing trees with globe-shaped canopies. They are native to eastern Asia and are also called Hankow willows. Globe willows are excellent shade trees for lawns and parks, as well as near streams and lakes. They are some of the first trees to leaf out in early spring.
Globe willows grow 20-70 feet tall, and 35-70 feet wide. The bright green slender leaves of spring mature to dark green in the summer and turn yellow in the fall. The flowers and fruit are inconspicuous.
Globe willows grow in Zones 4 to 9 in moist areas in the sun or partial shade. They need ample water and should be watered every 1 ½ to 2 ½ weeks. Globe willows may suffer cold damage in extreme temperatures. Prune damaged, diseased or dead limbs and branches in the summer or fall.
Diseases and Pests
Only globe willows are affected by frothy flux. There is no cure and infected trees should be removed and destroyed to prevent the spread of the disease. Globe willows are also susceptible to bacterial wetwood disease and Cytospora cankers. Numerous pests attack globe Willows, including aphids, beetles, borers, caterpillars and spider mites.
Globe willows have extensive, aggressive root systems. Plan them at least 200 feet away from sewer and water lines, septic tanks and drain fields. The trees also have weak wood and falling branches can cause a hazard.
Salix matsudana was named for the Japanese botanist, Sadahisa Matsudo, who wrote one of the first guides to the plants of China.
Globe Willow Trees
Globe willow trees grow 3 feet per year, reaching a height and canopy spread up to 70 feet, with a lifespan of 40 to 150 years. Some globe willow trees have been known to reach a trunk circumference of 150 inches. Leaves are light green in the spring, darkening to a medium green in the summer and have hints of yellow in the fall. The spring flowers have a bottle-brush shape, with tiny brown capsule fruits that appear in the summer. Mature trees require watering once every 10 to 17 days. Treatment typically involves an insecticide or fungicide. The only treatment is to remove all damaged, decaying tissue down to the wood. However, the extensive root system of globe willows can clog plumbing and sewage lines if they are planted too close to buildings. These trees drop leaves and branches when the tree is healthy, which can be messy, and during periods of environmental stress or high winds they may shed an even larger number of branches.
- University of Nevada: Xtreme Horticulture
- New Mexico State University: Problems For Globe Willows
- California Polytechnic State University Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute: Globe Navajo Willow
- Arizona State University: Salix Matsudana
- Colorado State University Extension, Tri River Area: The Globe Willow