Weeping willow tree (salix sepulcralis) is one of the many types of willow trees. It is a hybrid between the Chinese Peking willow and the European white willow. With more than 400 species, most of which are found in the northern hemisphere, these trees are ornamental trees used extensively in landscape designs. They are a fixture in water gardening, as they look more striking when planted near a pond or a lake, because their reflection in the water adds beauty to the place. These trees are one of the fast-growing shade trees, growing up to 10 feet in one year.
How to Care for a Weeping Willow Tree?
There are many suppliers for weeping willow, many of which can be found online. Sometimes, you may get a bare sapling (without any leaves), but do not worry as this is only a dormant state (biological rest period) of the tree. If you get a weeping willow sapling which has dry roots, then immediately sprinkle cool water on its root to replenish it and if you are not planting the sapling immediately, store it in a cool, dark, and dry place. After you purchase the sapling, follow the instructions given below which will guide you in the process of growing the tree.
Location: Select a spot where the tree will receive bright sunlight. Keep in mind that the roots of this tree will penetrate deep into the ground. So, plant it in an area where the roots will not be hindered. Avoid placing it near sideways or driveways. Never place a weeping willow near a sewer line or drainage ditch, as the roots might obstruct these lines and cause a lot of damage. It is best if you plant them near a water body like a pond, lake, or a spring.
Planting Care: The soil for gardening should be loose and of good quality. Plant the tree in a hole which is twice the size of its roots. Plant the tree in the hole and refill the hole with soil. Take care to avoid air pockets as the roots will become dry, if any air pockets are present. So, cover the roots with soil and leave the stem uncovered.
Watering: Keep watering the tree regularly, especially during the 1st year of its growth. Ensure that you water the tree well, especially during summers. Sometimes, the falling of the tree's leaves can be a sign of over or under watering.
Fertilizers: Do not use fertilizers directly on the tree, but mix them with the soil. Use organic fertilizers which are rich in nitrogen.
Weed Control: Do not let any weed or grass grow around the tree in its initial growth period. After it completes one year use mulch around the tree to prevent the growth of weeds. Also, use a well-drained, organic mulch rich in nitrogen.
Pest Control: Ensure proper watering and use of fertilizers for pest control, as these are essential for prevention of tree diseases. Sometimes, pests like borers or aphids attack this tree. To prevent infestation by pests make sure you regularly prune the tree and remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches.
Here are some important tips one should follow while growing weeping willow trees.
- If there is a drought in your area, plant the new sapling in a large pot and keep it in a shady area. Keep watering it regularly and after the weather becomes cooler, transplant the sapling to the garden.
- If you wish to increase the growth rate of these trees, plant them in a spot where they get bright sunlight.
- Take proper care to protect the tree against any pest infestation.
- During the fall, the tree sheds its leaves and becomes dormant. However, in the spring it is one of the first trees to start leafing.
- During the later years of the trees, especially after 3 years, the tree won't need much maintenance, except for watering during droughts and regular pruning.