If you are looking for a unique tree that will beautify your garden, then planting corkscrew willows is a good option. We, at Gardenerdy, have enlisted some interesting facts about the corkscrew willow tree.
The ‘Twirled’ Willow
The branches of the corkscrew willow tree are naturally twirled, which makes it ideal as decorative art items in flower arrangements and home decor.
Welcome to the family of willow trees―there are several species of willows―of which, the corkscrew willow is unique in its own right. Also known as the curly willow or salix matsudana, or Koidzumi or dragon’s claw, it is quite popular due to its gnarled and twisted branches. Originally a native of North Asia, it looks most beautiful in winter and is known to be a favorite among bonsai lovers and practitioners.
It is an ornamental and landscaping tree, and its entangled branches, as mentioned earlier, are used to grace flower arrangements. Of course, considering the tree’s height and spread, you need an appropriate area to plant it. However, like any other plant, this tree also needs its share of attention and care, mostly because it is prone to pest infestation and diseases.
We have enlisted certain features of the corkscrew willow, its uses, needs, and the common diseases affecting this tree.
Size and Growth
You need good space to plant this tree, which can match its height and spread―its growth is very fast. However, on the flip side, this tree does not last for many years. Its flowers are inconspicuous and not very showy, while its fruits are dry and not noteworthy. The corkscrew willow has green foliage which turns yellow in fall. In winter, it sheds all its foliage, and its unique twisted branches look beautiful against the white winter surroundings.
Corkscrew Willow Foliage
Willow Branches in Winter
Unique Corkscrew Willow Branches
It may have multiple trunks, though the bark is usually thin. The branches and twigs are thin, weak, and break easily. Twigs are known for being twisted, gnarled, and deformed. A mature corkscrew can grow to about 20 – 40 feet high. The spread of a mature tree can cover about 15-30 feet. It is known to possess a fast growth rate and the United States Department of Agriculture classifies it in the hardiness zones of 4b to 8a.
Watering and Propagation
Being a fairly hardy tree, the corkscrew can survive in full or partial sunlight. It can also survive in any soil type, but preferably moist soil. Ensure that the tree is watered regularly. Plant it away from power lines, water lines, and sidewalks―the roots grow very quickly and spread near the surface. It is very easy to propagate a corkscrew willow―prune it regularly. It grows back from its cuttings and will immediately start sprouting in a few weeks.
It is mostly used as a landscaping tree, for the owner can get a beautiful medium height tree, without waiting for many decades. They will beautify your garden/backyard, especially the fall of the foliage looks very attractive.
Its unique gnarled branches can also be used for:
- Home decors
- Various other artistic crafts.
Common Pests and Diseases
The tree is highly prone to insects and diseases which may cause yellowing of leaves, stunted growth, and in some cases, can prove fatal. It is commonly infected by the following pests.
Aphids and Gypsy moths: Feed on the leaves
Lace bugs: Cause yellowing of leaves
Willow Leaf Beatles: Eat/skeletonize leaves
Poplar and Wild Borer: Drill into the trunks
Some pests, like aphids, may be taken care of by predatory insects, and do not need much attention, yet, the Poplar and Wild Borer can prove fatal, since it can drill down the trunk of the tree. Necessary attention by way of pesticides should be taken immediately. Else, you may contact your local arborist to disinfect them.
Willow scab: Kills young leaves of the tree
Black Canker: Causes black lesions on branches and stems
Crown Gall: Causes galls on the base, trunk and even on the branches
Powdery Mildew: Causes white coating on the leaves
Like humans, it is necessary to you keep your corkscrew willow healthy to prevent such attacks from fungus―which may lead to rust/tar spots on the leaves and also cause its death. If these diseases attack the trunk, they have potential of being fatal to the tree. The best way to control the contagious infection, would be to prune away those leaves that are infected. However, if the entire tree is infected, it is better to uproot the tree―to prevent the fungus from attacking to other trees. Keep the tree well fertilized and irrigated. Check for early symptoms, such as yellowing of leaves or any deposits on the branches, and take action immediately. Seek help from your arborist or any other expert if required.
It is highly susceptible to weather damages like storms―roots are not deeply rooted, and the trunk and branches are not strong enough to sustain it.
The corkscrew willow is certainly loved by gardeners for it is easy and quick to grow, and can enhance the beauty of your garden with a little bit of care and affection. Check regularly for infections, and let it be an inspiration for poets, painters, and nature lovers alike!