Salix babylonica, or the weeping willow, is a whimsical giant recognized by its crown of sweeping and low hanging branches. Its long and slender leaves are an early indicator of spring with its yellow twigs and green leaves. It is one of the first trees to sprout new leaves in the spring and the first to lose leaves in the fall. This species of willow is native to the northern area of China, but is now a well known tree found throughout North America.
The weeping willow is an easy to grow species of tree that easily takes root, can grow up to eight feet per year, and can easily reach up to forty feet in height and thirty-five feet in width under the right conditions. There is a vast variety of the willow tree with over 400 species. In the Spring weeping willows produce what are referred to as catkins. These are silver tinged green foliage that contain flowers. In the fall the weeping willows lance shaped leaves turn to a golden shade.
Hardy Plant Zone
Although the weeping willow is expected to grow well in hardiness zones 6-8 it is well know to also grow in hardiness zones of 4-9.
Under good conditions the weeping will can reach heights of 30 - 40 feet with a spread of about 35 feet.
The weeping willow is a highly adaptable tree. It likes rich and moist soil, but it is quite versatile and can also tolerate alkaline, acidic, sandy loam, and well drained soils. Although they are drought tolerant, they prefer growing next to water sources such as creeks, rivers, and ponds.
The weeping willow is one of the fasted growing shade trees. Under normal situations it can grow approximately two feet per year, but have been known to grow up to eight feet in a year. Their growth rate begins slow, but once they get to a height of about ten feet their growth rate speeds up.
Characteristics and Appearance