Golden Willow Information – How To Grow A Golden Willow Tree
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By: Teo Spengler
What is a golden willow? It is a variety of white willow, a common tree native to Europe, central Asia, and northern Africa. Golden willow is like white willow in many ways, but its new stems grow in a bright golden color. Read on for more golden willow information.
What is a Golden Willow Tree?
European settlers brought white willow (Salix alba) into this country in the 1700s, and over the centuries, it escaped and naturalized across the continent. Its bark is a dark tan color. One of the variations developed from white willow is the golden willow (Salix alba ‘Vitellina’).
So what is a golden willow exactly? According to golden willow information, it is a tree that looks like white willow but produces new growth the color of egg yolks.
Growing Golden Willows
These willows grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2 through 9. That means that if you live in the continental U.S., you can probably start growing the trees.
The bright new stems really stand out in your backyard in winter and provide interest to the dormant garden. In fact, many gardeners start growing golden willow trees because of the unusual color of the stems. That’s why golden willow is often grown as a multiple-stemmed bush rather than a single stem tree. If you grow it for the color of the young bark, you’ll want as many new trunks each year as you can get.
If you are wondering how to grow a golden willow, you’ll be happy to hear that it doesn’t require much maintenance. Golden willow tree care isn’t lengthy or complicated. Plant the golden willow in a sunny location in well-draining soil for best growth. The tree also grows in partial shade.
Golden willows have cultural requirements similar to those of other willow trees. That means that golden willow tree care is pretty much the same as any type of willow care, so think about planting it in a location with wet or moist soil.
Golden willow tree care might also include heavy pruning. If you want the tree to grow as a multi-stemmed shrub, cut the branches back close to the ground every winter. Do this before new growth appears. Since golden willow grows quickly, you may see shoots taller than you are before the end of the growing season.
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How to grow willow
Willows and salix make excellent garden trees. Find out how to grow them, in our Grow Guide.
Published: Thursday, 9 April, 2020 at 2:21 pm
Do not Take cuttings in January
Do not Take cuttings in February
Do not Take cuttings in March
Do not Take cuttings in April
Do not Take cuttings in May
Do not Take cuttings in August
Do not Take cuttings in September
Do Take cuttings in October
Do Take cuttings in November
Do not Take cuttings in December
Do not Prune in September
There are more than 300 willow species to choose from, with features including ornamental stems and attractive grey-green foliage, along with the wonderful catkins (known as pussy willow) that some species are renowned for. It’s the male plants that put on a show in spring, with pollen-laden catkins attracting early bees. However, some species are cultivated for their weeping habit or contorted stems. Willows come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from very large to dwarf cultivars, so there’s one to suit almost every garden.
Where to grow willows
Willows grow best in deep, moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Some varieties like to grow in very damp soil, near water, but avoid planting near a house, as the root system can invade drains and foundations.
How to plant willows
You can buy pot-grown willows, but many species are also available to buy as a ‘withy’. A withy is a single willow stem. Willow stems are very quick to root and extremely maleable, so they’re perfect for weaving into growing willow structures.
How to propagate willow
Willows are easy to propagate from withies or cuttings. You can take softwood cuttings in early summer or hardwood cuttings in winter, which will root quickly once in the ground.
Growing willows: problem solving
Willows and salix can be prone to the large willow aphid. Although this does not harm the plant, sooty mould can develop on the honeydew excreted by the aphids, which is is unattractive. Willow can also succumb to honey fungus.
How to care for your willow
Willows respond well to hard pruning and coppicing. Some varieties need a good chop to encourage their ornamental features. If you’re growing willow for colourful winter stems, prune hard in spring for the new growth that will be on display the following winter after the leaves have dropped. Likewise, a late winter prune can also encourage lush foliage growth.
Where Do Weeping Willow Trees Grow Best?
The weeping willow tree needs a wide area to grow.
These trees need a yard or wide swath of lawn to stretch into because they can reach 50 feet in height and width.
The roots can stretch wider than the tree. They are drawn towards the nearest abundant source of water. The roots are also attracted to nutrients around a septic system in the soil.
They grow well near water but have some drought tolerance. This means you don’t worry about having to plant them right near a pond. They can handle the cold winter and also tolerate the heat in summer. As long as you water them often.
Niobe Golden Weeping Willow
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Just about everybody loves a Weeping Willow, and Niobe Weeping Willow may become your favorite tree, too. Its elegant, flowing form, golden stems, and fluttery, silver-backed leaves will paint a beautiful and soothing picture outside your window. Weeping Willow is a fast-growing tree (the fastest-growing tree we have for sale), and you’ll appreciate the quick privacy screen it provides. The kids will surely have a ball conducting top-secret meetings in the space beneath Niobe’s domed canopy. This is a large tree for a large property. Is Weeping Willow the tree for you? Find out more here.*
Just about everybody loves a Weeping Willow, and Niobe Weeping Willow may become your favorite tree, too. Its elegant , flowing form, golden stems, and fluttery, silver-backed leaves will paint a beautiful and soothing picture outside your window. Weeping Willow is a fast-growing tree (the fastest-growing tree we have for sale), and you’ll appreciate the quick pr ivacy screen it provides. T he kids will surely have a ball conducting top-secret meetings in the space beneath Niobe’s domed canopy. This is a large tree for a large property. Is Weeping Willow the tree for you? Find out more here.
The Willow you've always dreamed about. Long, sweeping branches cascade over each other until they reach the ground, creating an atmosphere that will mesmerize your imagination and confirm that some dreams do come true. The bright lovely yellow branches shimmer against the winter sky. It is definitely a one-of-a-kind tree!
How to Grow
Willows are just plain easy to grow. These large, yet delicate, trees can create quite a focal point in the garden. They tolerate most soil conditions, including wet soils. They aren’t too keen on dry soil conditions, but they do enjoy being planted in full sun. Did you know that a substance taken from the bark of the Willow tree is used to produce salicylic acid? Salicylic acid is used to make aspirin, dyes, and it even helps to preserve food. Willow trees are aggressive growers and can grow to be quite large. To help them grow into healthy large trees, apply a dose of medium rate fertilizer once a year in the fall. You should only do this for about the first 3 or 4 years. You shouldn’t have to prune too often, just prune when you feel it is necessary. Willow trees are free of any major pest or disease problems. When your Willow tree is young, however, keep the trunk of your young Willow protected – ‘cause deer love ‘em!
Questions & Answers
Q: Is it a good idea to prune low branches under my Weeping Willow tree? Also, if I can prune, do I leave a little nub where it is pruned?
A: Absolutely it is okay to prune the lower branches on your Weeping Willow. And yes, you will want to leave a little nub at the prune site. The objective is not to prune too far into the branch collar or the Willow will struggle to heal properly. A well placed prune will leave no scar in the future. Branch collars are easy to see on most Trees, this is the area between the stem and the branch. Generally, the bark will be different and actually grow in differing directions. Stay away from this transition area and you will do wonderfully, as will the Weeping Willow itself!
Q: We have a lot of deer that have made their home in the wetlands near us. Do deer destroy Willow Trees? We would like to plant a Willow near the wetter part of our yard but are wary of the deer.
A: While Willow Trees are not usually a favorite for deer, they can still be a problem for young Willow Trees. Not so much from eating or browsing the foliage though (Willows can grow through this quite well actually).
The real challenge is that the bark on Willow Trees produce an aspirin like chemical that provide relief for the deer when new antlers are forming as they become very itchy. They seem to be attracted to the Willow for this reason.
Our Growers combat this on the Nursery regularly, each Fall season in particular. This is why Bower & Branch recommends Plantskydd Deer Repellent for all our Trees and other products. Easy to apply, it provides protection from buck rub as well as browsing. Apply Plantskydd in the Fall, at the start of the season for buck rub. For best results, dip a rag into the Plantskydd and attach the rag directly to the Willow Tree. Repeat this effort about every three to four weeks for assurance, but many times on the Nursery, we require only one application.
Q: I am looking to plant a Willow Tree in my yard that I had received as a gift - I had one as a kid at my father's 100 year old farm and loved it. My yard is an acre and I'm guessing the Tree would be planted about 120-140 ft from the house. There is no plumbing back there but irrigation lines, and the septic is up near the house. The septic field will be about 20 ft away from where I plant, will this be a problem?
A: What a wonderful sentiment - we love the Weeping Willow and love that you do as well!
Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer on how far to plant away from a leach field but our Growers would recommend at least 40' away. If you plant closer, the root system of the Willow will eventually reach the leach field and impede the functioning of the leach field - which you most definitely do not want! To be safe, we feel 40-50' away would be a safe distance for you.
Good luck and enjoy your Willow!
Q: Our Willow has some lower limbs that we would like to trim. When is the best time to do this? Also, how far back can you trim the branch? It is a branch coming off one of the lower branches. Thank you!
A: Thank you for reaching out!
The best time for you to prune your Willow Tree would be right now actually (Fall) =)
When it comes to how far back to prune, you do not want to prune the branch flush against the other branch. You want to leave the branch collar attached. The branch collar refers to the ‘bump’ at the base of the branch that you are pruning – it is about the first quarter of an inch of the branch. The branch collar is a part of the of the main Tree, so if you cut the branch collar, you are wounding the Tree itself which can leave your Tree vulnerable to disease and pests.
Q: I have a septic tank that is keeping a wet spot in my yard. Would a Weeping Willow help dry it up?
A: Thank you for checking in with Bower & Branch before planting!
While a Weeping Willow may use up some excess moisture in your yard, planting a Weeping Willow on or near your septic tank is not advised – nor would planting any large Tree in that area be recommended. The myths referring to Willow are based on facts related to speed of growth and their ability to withstand more moist/wet soils.
For your septic space, consider some less aggressive growers that would be able to provide the same benefit – Serviceberry (Amelanchier) are native Trees with shallow roots that would provide some relief for your problem. There are also other native shrubs that would be able to soak up some of the excess moisture. For example, Viburnum would perform well, as will the Dappled Willow and varieties of Clethra.
If you have any additional questions about your particular situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out – you can give us a call at 866-873-3888, email our Plant Whisperers at [email protected] or Live Chat with us directly on the site!
Q: How far back from the edge of a pond should a Weeping Willow be planted? Ideally, we'd love it to grow into the water at the edge of the pond (the pond is only 6' deep at the middle).
A: Thank you for contacting Bower & Branch to check on this!
Our Growers have planted Weeping Willows as close to the edge of ponds as possible, but always staying away from planting IN the water.
It is important to note that at some time in the future, the size and weight of the Tree in softer, wet soils on the edge of the pond may cause the Willow to lean or even topple over. Bower & Branch recommends that you plant 8-12′ away from the pond’s shoreline to avoid this in the future. At this distance, your Tree will still grow toward the water as you are hoping for, but it should help prevent any issues down the road =)
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know! We are here to help!