~ By Betty G. ~
The weeping willow is a member of the Salix
family. It is a deciduous tree and China is its country of origin. Its scientific
name is salix babylonica.
This lovely willow is known to grow anywhere between 30 to 50 feet tall and
easily as wide or wider. Its leaves can be as long as 6 inches with branches
that droop heavily and gracefully towards the ground, thus the common
name of "weeping willow" is a given.
There are 2 other members of the family that also have the drooping habit
although both are not as pronounced.
One such tree is the golden weeping willow or salix alba tristis that can
reach as high as 70 feet. Its form is more pendulous in nature and its
stems are a golden yellow which makes it one the more attractive weeping
The other is crispa "annularis" or the corkscrew willow whose leaves curl
into rings or circles and whose growth habit is much narrower than either
of the other 2 species.
Weeping willows are best suited when grown as single trees in areas near
a lake or stream and where there is plenty of room for it to show off its
magnificent elegance. However, that being said, with considerable training,
it can be a good shade tree for a patio or a terrace.
As mentioned earlier, willows do lose their leaves in the late fall, but through
the spring and summer, they are a sight for sore eyes.
All willows will grow in any soil and even tolerate poor drainage, but beware
as they do have shallow root systems, so trying to grow any other flowers
or shrubs under them is very difficult and even when accomplished the new
arrivals in most cases will not flourish.
Another caution is its susceptibility to a wide variety of pests such as
caterpillars, aphids, borers and spider mites as well as a disease known as
twig blight that might occur in the upper regions of the Northwest.
However, all these can be readily controlled when caught early by using a
Overall, if one is looking to provide a shade tree beyond compare as far as
beauty and elegance is concerned, the weeping willow is the "cat's meow".
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