Are you concerned about the problems you are facing with your weeping willow? Keep reading to know how to care for these trees, about the different problems associated with it, and their remedies.
Weeping willows (Salix sepulcralis) are graceful trees that have been mentioned in literature many times. These trees look extremely beautiful and stand out nicely in any landscape design, which is why they are so popular as ornamental trees. These are also one of the fastest growing trees that provide excellent shade. After the initial years of the tree’s growth, very less maintenance is required for it. But, in the initial years, one needs to take great care of the young tree to prevent any problems associated with it.
Pest infestation is one of the most common problems with this tree. The pests that usually attack weeping willows are scales, borers, aphids, caterpillars, and gypsy moths. Let us look at the problems and diseases faced by these trees.
- Tree appears dead when planted near drainage:
Never plant a weeping willow near drainage ditches or sewage lines, as the roots of this tree grow deep and can break these lines, causing damage for the surrounding area and the tree itself in the process. However, if you observe your tree shedding its leaves and looking almost dead, and know that it was planted near a drainage ditch, scrap off a little piece of the bark and check if it is green. If you find that it is green about 6 inches below the surface, that means the tree is alive. If you find it brown, it means that the tree is dead. If the tree is alive, replant it elsewhere; but if it is dead, get rid of it.
- Old tree with rot:
Rot is a sort of bacterial or fungal infection. In this disease, the roots of the tree at the base of the trunk can be seen to be turnind red. The average life span of the weeping willow is almost 30 years. If the tree is over 30 years and has got rot disease, better get rid of it as it might fall down and damage the surroundings.
- Brown spots on the leaves and shoots:
This is a disease called marssonina canker or black canker. In this disease, dark brown spots appear on the leaves, and white lesion with black rings can be seen on the twigs and stems. Trim out the infected branches and treat the tree with fungicides or bactericides. If this still doesn’t work, get rid of the infected tree to protect the rest of your garden.
- Olive-green infection on leaves and stems:
This is a disease called willow scab, and it occurs mostly during the growing season of the tree, which is usually April and May. It causes olive green colored infection on the underside of the leaves that is more prominent at the veins. To protect the tree, prune out the diseased branches and treat it with a good fungicide. Sometimes, willow scab and black canker affect the tree together, and this disease is called willow blight.
- Round bulges 1-3 inches in size:
These could be cysts formed due to eggs laid by insects. These cysts are harmless, however, cut open a bulge to check what it contains.
There are many other problems that affect weeping willow trees. Some problems can be fixed, some problems can be avoided, while some have no other solution other than the removal of the tree. Here are some more problems that might affect this tree:
- Wilting or browning of the tree due to severe drought conditions.
- Physical damage due to any accident might result into premature loss of the tree.
- If the tree is standing in a watery-logged region for long, it can create anaerobic conditions, which results into the decaying and dying of the tree.
- Extremely cold weather might cause vertical cracks in the trunk, which might invite various diseases, like cancer or rot.
One can always prevent these hazards by taking good care and maintaining a healthy weeping willow.