Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Weeping Willow

I first came across this tree in Boston. I instantly fell in love with it. I got to see one today and I just remembered how beautiful this tree is. I thought I'd share some info about my favorite tree.
The weeping willow is an original native to China. It was long ago introduced into Europe and the Middle East and later on into the USA. These trees were once thought to be the biblical willows of Babylon, hence the scientific name Salix babylonica. The Weeping Willow is a fast growing and majestic tree. Growth can be six to eight feet or more a year. As the tree gets larger, the long thin branches hang down, creating a flowing umbrella of shade. It is widely grown where the soil is moist. This tree has to have plenty of water. You will usually find this tree where there is a good water supply. If the water supply is scarce, the roots of this tree will stretch as long as they have to to find it. It has been noted that the roots of weeping willows, grown in the front yards of homes, have wrapped themselves around the house's water pipes and burst them for water. So, it is best to keep weeping willows away from sewer lines or other underground piping. You will find this tree in cities, as well, for it is tolerant of smoke and grime. The weeping willow is actually wild in some areas now. Like other willows it can grow from stem cuttings. One characteristic of this tree are the long, limp, pendant twigs. Another is the narrow, lance shaped leaves that are two to seven inches long. The minute seeds are covered with white hairs. The bark is grayish brown and fissured. The weeping willow is a beautiful tree that will look that way anywhere it is grown.

Salix 'Babylonica' This beautiful weeping willow (the best of the green weeping willows) is a hardy deciduous tree. It forms a gracefully rounded crown to about 50 feet in height with a spread just as wide. It's bark is dark gray and deeply furrowed. Branches divide into many thin stems that hang in pendulous curtains to the ground. This willow is very adaptable and will thrive in most soil type.

Habitat: Prefers very moist soils. Often seen growing as an ornamental tree around margins of ponds, lakes, and streams.

Characteristics: Weeping willow attains a height of 30-60 feet; the trunk having a diameter of 1-3 feet. May be larger. The leaves of this species are very long (1-5 feet), with greenish-yellow twigs.

No comments: