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What Is a Curly Willow Tree?

twisted willow image by Alison Bowden from

Several varieties of willow trees display interesting characteristics. The curly willow, also known as the corkscrew willow, produces unusually shaped branches. Like many types of willows, this twisting variety grows in many climates and soil conditions. The central area of the northern United States experiences temperatures too cold for the curly willow tree. Ideal locations for this type of tree include the coastal states and the south-central states.


Curly willow trees reach a height between 25 and 35 feet at maturity. These upright willows spread to a width of approximately 17 feet. These members of the Salicaceae family grow rapidly in favorable climates and soil conditions. Twisting and contorted branches give this ornamental tree its name. These curving branches display long, narrow leaves in shades of green.


Curly willow trees require adequate amounts of sunlight to thrive. Although many curly willows grow in slightly shady areas, these trees prefer full sunlight for optimal growth. Average soils provide adequate nutrition for curly willows. These trees tolerate soil conditions ranging from slightly arid to occasionally wet, but prefer soil that remains slightly moist. Curly willow trees tolerate clay, loam and sandy compositions.


Due to their rapid rate of growth, curly willow trees provide quick coverage to disturbed areas near construction sites and roadways. This quick growth makes these trees good choices for areas subject to soil erosion from runoff. These trees provide windbreaks and screens along property lines.


Prone to breakage and decay, the branches of curly willows require periodic trimming to remove dead sections. Due to their thin bark, these trees require protection from mechanical damage caused by people and pets. Propagate curly willow trees by taking healthy cuttings in the spring. Planting these cuttings directly in moist soil provides many new trees for individual plantings or screening effects.

Pests and Diseases

Curly willow trees suffer from various types of pests and diseases. Aphids often attack the lower leaves, causing seepage of tree sap, known as honeydew deposits. Gypsy moths and willow leaf beetles feed on the leaves of curly willows. Pesticide applications remove these destructive insects. Although curly willow trees seldom experience serious diseases, these trees may display signs of mildew, canker and crown gall. Removing fallen leaves from the soil near the base of the tree eliminates the cause of many types of diseases. Pruning out damaged branches and spraying with fungicide removes many types of fungus and disease organisms that damage these types of trees.

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