Willow: Species And Varieties. Planting, Growing And Care. Photo

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Willow: Species And Varieties. Planting, Growing And Care. Photo
Willow: Species And Varieties. Planting, Growing And Care. Photo

Video: Willow: Species And Varieties. Planting, Growing And Care. Photo

Video: Willow: Species And Varieties. Planting, Growing And Care. Photo
Video: Trees | Educational Video for Kids 2023, December

Without demanding special attention to itself, the willow fully responds to the care shown - with a lush crown, graceful bend of weeping branches and a light silver haze of leaves. Willows are very common and very well-known plants in central Russia. Most willow species love moisture and settle in damp places, while in dry places (on the slopes, sands, etc.) and in swamps, relatively few species grow. Willow is also found in forests, as an admixture to other trees.

White willow, or silvery willow, willow
White willow, or silvery willow, willow


  • Willow description
  • Growing willow
  • How to decorate a willow garden?
  • Types, varieties and shapes of willow
  • The main pests of willows and measures to control them
  • Useful properties of willow

Willow description

Willow appeared on the earth quite early, its prints come across already in the Cretaceous formation, and even modern species lived in the Quaternary era: ash willow (Salix cinerea), white willow (Salix alba), rod-shaped willow (Salix viminalis).

The willow genus contains at least 350 species, distributed mainly in the cool regions of the Northern Hemisphere, where the willow enters the Arctic Circle. Several species are native to the tropics. There are more than 65 species in North America, of which only 25 reach the size of a tree. Most willows are small trees 10-15 m or shrubs, but there are willows 30-40 m high and more than 0.5 m in diameter.

In cold countries, willows grow far to the north, such are the very undersized dwarf willows: Dull willow (Salix retusa), Net willow (Salix reticulata), Herb willow (Salix herbacea), Polar willow (Salix polaris).

In the mountains there are low-growing willows Herb willow (Salix herbacea) and others that reach the very snowy border. Polar and alpine willows - low-growing creeping dwarf shrubs - up to several centimeters in height.

Their interspecific hybrids are often found. Various types of willow, as already noted, are called: willow, willow, shelyuga, rakita (large trees and shrubs, mainly in the western regions of the European part of Russia); vine, vine (shrub species); tal, talnik (mostly shrub species, in the eastern regions of the European part, in Siberia and Central Asia).

Due to the ability to give adventitious roots, willows easily propagate by cuttings and even stakes (with the exception of Salix caprea - bredina, or goat willow). Seeds lose their germination within a few days; only the five-headed willow (Salix pentandra) seeds remain viable until the next spring.

Willow of babylon
Willow of babylon

Growing willow

Willow is very unpretentious to soil. Nevertheless, it grows best on light to medium loams, especially if they do not forget to feed it with organic matter. She also easily tolerates the close occurrence of groundwater.

Willow planting

To plant a seedling of shrubby willows, you need to dig a hole 50x50 cm, for tall trees of slightly large sizes - 60x60 cm and a depth of 40 cm. (When planting large-sized plants with a large clod of earth, the hole should be 40-50 cm wider than the coma, and the depth 30- 40 cm more). Fill it with a soil mixture (from 1/3 to 1/2 of the pit volume), which will consist of soil, compost or quilted manure and peat (1: 1: 1).

If the soils are heavy, sand is added to the soil (up to 20%). In addition, for the willow it is necessary to apply complex mineral fertilizers, for example, azofoska (150-200 g). Stir the soil mixture in the pit well. When planting a hedge or a dense alley, it is advisable to dig a trench 40-50 cm wide and 40 cm deep.

A willow with a closed root system easily takes root at any time - from April to October (the main thing is that the lump and roots are not overdried). But plants with open roots are best planted in early spring, before bud break, or in September, with the beginning of leaf fall. When planting in autumn, the leaves of the seedling must be removed. Low-hardy species and varieties should not be planted in the winter, since their fragile roots and shoots can die from frost before they can develop.

Weeping form Salix × sepulcralis
Weeping form Salix × sepulcralis

Willow care

In the first season after planting, willow needs abundant watering: 20-50 liters of water (depending on the size of the plant) every two weeks and every week - during the dry period. Then moderate irrigation will be enough for her. Shrub species forming a hedge should be cut once or twice a season (in spring and mid-summer).

As for feeding, during the spring and summer, complex fertilizers are applied two or three times, and at the end of August - superphosphate and potassium sulfate. In rainy years, gray and black spots, similar to a dirty bloom, often appear on willow leaves. To return the tree to its original beauty, it is necessary to spray it with copper oxychloride (HOM) or oxychom.

In autumn, it is advisable to remove fallen leaves from the site. Grafted trees in summer or autumn must be freed from wild growth. We must not forget about the shelter of non-resistant varieties. This is done in October - early November.

Weeping willow
Weeping willow

How to decorate a willow garden?

In gardens and parks, willows are traditionally planted on the shore of a reservoir. And this is understandable - a natural landscape, a familiar image. But, of course, such a plastic and unusually spectacular tree will decorate any corner of the garden, and its crown will protect from the sun.

Willows, planted at intervals of 1.5-2 m, form a high hedge, and in two rows - a shady alley. Especially beautiful is the alley made of white weeping willow when the trees close their crowns. To do this, already in the second or third year after planting, the branches directed towards each other are intertwined at a height of 2.5-3 m or connected by ablactation. Ablactation is a grafting method used to connect the shoots of one or different plants without cutting them off.

True, this method requires special skills, so the easiest way is to braid the branches by fixing both tops with a thin plastic tape. After the willow branches are closed, a green openwork tunnel is obtained. And if there is no place for an alley in the garden, then you can limit yourself to a green arch at the entrance - just two trees.

Shrub willows (twisted, purple, Caspian) are excellent material for hedges. They will both shade and at the same time decorate a playground or playground. But no less picturesque are the bushes, simply planted in a row or in several clumps along the garden path. And how interesting dwarf or weeping willows look in rockeries, especially if a stream is streaming nearby or a small fountain beats.

However, a lone willow on a wide lawn, surrounded by flowering ornamental shrubs or in the company of conifers, whose prickly beauty only benefits from such a contrast, is also impressive.

Types, varieties and shapes of willow

There are more than 350 species of willows in the world of various shapes and sizes - from mighty twenty-meter giants to a creeping shrub several centimeters high. More than a hundred of them are in our country (only in the middle lane there are about 20 species).

White willow (willow)

  • the form is silvery. The tallest (up to 10-12 m) and the most unpretentious of the decorative willows. It got its name due to the spectacular silvery color of the leaves. Great in parks - against the background of dense dark green foliage of large trees: horse chestnut, elm, linden And planted in the background (along the fence), these willows, with their silvery foliage, emphasize the beauty of red-leaved maples, plums, barberries or the dark needles of mountain pine and yew.
  • weeping form. The tree is 5-7 m high, with a very beautiful crown, cascading down, and long (up to 2-3 m) branches dropping almost to the ground. The soil is undemanding, winter-hardy, moisture-loving. It tolerates shade, but in the absence of the sun, the crown is not so thick and not so decorative. Weeping willow is good both on its own and in a small group of trees, especially along the banks of water bodies. It is ideally combined with flowering and decorative deciduous shrubs and low conifers: thuja, juniper, cypress.
White willow, or silvery willow, willow
White willow, or silvery willow, willow

Willow brittle (raquita)

spherical shape. The crown is very dense, regular spherical or domed. The tree is multi-stemmed, sometimes reaching a height of 7 m. It does not freeze even in cold winters. It is great both in single and in group plantings, it can serve as a good background for other ornamental plants. A small clump or row of such willows is especially picturesque on the shore of the reservoir. Rakita is also used as a hedge

Willow brittle, or Rakita, cultivar 'Bullata'
Willow brittle, or Rakita, cultivar 'Bullata'

Goat willow

  • weeping form. Very effective, with weeping shoots, located in a "tent" on the top of a small, usually one and a half meter stem. Recently, it has become popular thanks to the foreign planting material that has appeared in our country. In good light, the tree forms a narrow tent-shaped crown with shoots hanging vertically down, sometimes to the very ground. In spring, they are densely covered with fluffy flowers, turning trees into large dandelions. It hardly grows upward, exceeding the height of the trunk by only 30-40 cm. It is planted in groups. But one tree is also beautiful against the background of plants with a different shade of foliage or at the bends of garden paths.

    They take care of the goat willow in the same way as for any standard grafted plant. First of all, it is necessary to remove in time the wild growth that forms on the stem under the grafting site (below the bases of the weeping shoots at the top of the stem), otherwise the grafted part may die off. Since this type of willow is not very winter-hardy, it should be planted in well-lit and wind-protected areas. In the northern Moscow region, it is better to cover the grafted part of the seedling for the winter by wrapping it in several layers of non-woven. When planting, standard plants must be tied to three stakes to maintain verticality.

Goat willow, cultivar 'Pendula'
Goat willow, cultivar 'Pendula'

Willow twisting

  • Matsuda's form. Golden spiral shoots with slightly curled leaves give it a special charm. Like any beauty, Matsuda's willow is very capricious. A foreigner, she does not tolerate Russian frosts: in the Moscow region and in more northern regions, in severe winters, it freezes up to the level of snow, so she needs to be covered. This willow is planted only in well-lighted places well protected from the wind. But even under ideal conditions in the Moscow region, the plant height rarely exceeds 3-3.5 m.
  • Ural twisted. No less attractive than Matsuda, but better adapted to the Russian climate. The tree is low (up to 3.5 m), but very decorative, and at any time of the year. Its spiral shoots are greenish-gray and appear glossy brown in the sun. Regardless of the season, it tolerates pruning and trimming, so it is suitable for hedges. Thanks to its twisted shoots and twisted "curly" leaves, this willow is pleasing to the eye both in itself and surrounded by other willow trees.
Willow branches Matsuda, cultivar 'Tortuosa'
Willow branches Matsuda, cultivar 'Tortuosa'

Whole-leaved willow

Variety "Hakuro-Nishiki". A very interesting form with snow-white leaves at the end of the shoots and variegated in the middle and closer to the base of the branches. It grows as a low bush (up to 1.5 m) or a low tree - when grafted onto a stem. The disadvantage is low winter hardiness. In the middle lane, it is better to plant non-standard seedlings and cover the plants for the winter

Whole-leaved willow, cultivar 'Hakuro Nishiki'
Whole-leaved willow, cultivar 'Hakuro Nishiki'

Purple willow

medium-sized shrub, up to 2-2.5 m high, with a dense, almost spherical crown and glossy reddish shoots. In recent years, this species has become more and more popular in Russia. Shade-tolerant, but not very winter-hardy. After freezing, it grows easily, it is not necessary to cover for the winter. It is better to plant in places protected from the wind

Purple willow, or yellow willow, variety `Nana Gracilis`
Purple willow, or yellow willow, variety `Nana Gracilis`

Caspian willow

sprawling three-meter shrub with thin long shoots of a pale yellow color and narrow stiff leaves. Shade-tolerant, but not very hardy. After freezing, it grows easily, it is not necessary to cover for the winter. It is better to plant in places protected from the wind

Thickets of Caspian willow
Thickets of Caspian willow

The main pests of willows and measures to control them

In the general system of measures to increase the productivity of willows on plantations, special attention should be paid to measures to combat diseases and pests. Most often, willows are harmed by leaf beetles and elephants, caterpillars of various butterflies, aphids, flies, as well as a parasitic dodder plant. Most of all suffer from insects Russian, rod-shaped and purple willows.

  • Poplar leaf beetle. The beetle is 10-12 mm long, with reddish elytra and bluish-green pronotum and undersides. One black speck at the top of the elytra.
  • Aspen leaf beetle. The appearance and biology of the aspen leaf beetle are similar to those of the poplar leaf beetle. The beetle is slightly smaller in size than the poplar beetle (length 7-10 mm) and does not have black spots on the elytra.
  • Willow leafworm. Most often it affects the rod-shaped willow. The caterpillars of the leafworm roll the tops of the leaves into a dense cocoon and eat up the top of the shoot. The shoot bushes, which is why it loses its technical qualities.
  • Common willow aphid. It sucks out juice from leaves, buds, young shoots. Gives 10 generations a year.
  • Spider mite. It appears on the underside of the leaf and sucks out the juice. With severe damage, the leaves turn brown and fall off. In summer, the mite is greenish-yellow, by autumn it becomes reddish-orange in color. Hibernates under bark, fallen leaves and in soil (in the stage of an adult female).
  • Bindweed. A weed that damages willow plantations, especially in the first year of life. The bindweed twines around the twig, leaving traces of spirals on the bark and even on the wood, causing the twigs to break during operation. Shoot growth stops.
  • European dodder. The plant is a parasite. Dodder launches adventitious roots into the wood of the twig, sucking out nutrients. Often the whole bush dies from the dodder.
  • Willow Wave. The butterfly is 20-25 mm long with white wings. Caterpillars are shaggy, yellow-blue with red specks.
  • Mouse-like rodents - harm the roots and gnaw planted cuttings.
Willow of babylon
Willow of babylon

Useful properties of willow

Willow bark has long been used as an antipyretic and anti-inflammatory agent. But the beneficial properties of the plant are not limited to this. Suffice it to mention that salicylic acid - the active ingredient in aspirin - takes its name from the Latin word salix - willow.

In addition, willow is a wonderful honey plant, its fluffy flowers, gray with yellow stamens, are unusually rich in nectar. And from flexible willow shoots weave strong baskets and make light furniture. Looking forward to your advice!