Weeping willow, a majestic waterside tree

Weeping willow

Weeping willow is an absolutely magnificent ornamental tree.

Wise Weeping Willow facts

NameSalix babylonica
Family – Salicaceae
Type – tree

Height – 16 to 85 feet (5 to 25 meters)
Climate – Temperate
Exposure – full sun
Soil – moist

Foliage – deciduous
Flowering – May-June

Caring for a weeping willow, from planting to pruning, will contribute to the harmonious development of the tree.

Planting a weeping willow

Weeping willows are preferably planted in fall to enable root development before the first frost spells, so that growth can resume in the following spring.

  • weeping willow salix plantingA willow needs water and it will settle in perfectly near a river, a pond or any body of water.
  • It loves full sun and tolerates part sun.
  • Follow our advice on how to plant a tree.

Feel free to mulch the soil after planting to retain as much moisture as possible in the ground, because weeping willows crave it.

Propagating weeping willow

The best technique to multiply weeping willows is cuttings.

Pruning weeping willow

pruning weeping willowIt is a good idea to prune a weeping willow in February/March, snipping back all its branches.

This will trigger sprouting of new branches, and will give the tree more vigor.

No need to prune too severely, just trim lightly, but yearly.

Any risk of disease will become more and more remote, as your weeping willow grows denser and more vigorous.

A common disease infecting weeping willow

Leaf spot on weeping willowWillow tree leaves turn yellow and brown, with spots, and then fall off. Twigs turn darkish-brown and dry up.

This is due to scab, which is a disease due to a fungus called Marssonina.

This disease often surges after very wet spring seasons, as most fungal diseases do.


  • Pick up fallen leaves and twigs to restrict propagation.
  • Spray the tree with Bordeaux mixture.

Other diseases and parasites that appear on willows

  • Black Spot Disease – Black spots appear along veins on leaves and branches.
  • Rust – Yellow spots on the topside of leaves mirrored by brown blisters on the underside.
  • Canker – Branches and eventually the trunk itself dry up and die.

Learn more about weeping willow

Native to Asia, weeping willows are majestic because of their height, but even more so because of the branches that droop down to the ground and gracefully sway as the wind tears through them.

weeping willow treeIts distinctive features are its ground-reaching branch ends and long, vine-like branches. That is where the name of the tree comes from: “weeping” willow. But another equally amazing story also is shared to explain why this tree bears this name: dew and condensation forms when temperatures rise, and then drip down from the leaves above to the ground like tears.

In summer, you’ll feel its shade to be particularly refreshing.

Friend to the wettest areas, it grows perfectly along any body of water and in marshes.

Today, weeping willows are grown on every continent of the planet.

Smart tip about weeping willow

Don’t plant a willow too close to a house, because it grows huge and will block the sun out with thick shade!

Image credits for diseased willow leaf: Bugwood.org: Andrej Kunca