by johnah on November 7, 2020
White Willow Care: Learn How To Grow A White Willow
What Is White Willows?
The name “white willow” comes from the fact that it grows in most parts of the world. However, there are many different types of white willows. They have been found growing all over Europe, Asia and North America. These trees grow up to 50 feet tall and can reach 100 feet high!
White willows are native to the United States, Canada and Mexico. They were introduced into Australia during European settlement. Today they are found in every continent except Antarctica. The white willow is one of the fastest growing plants on earth, reaching full maturity in only 10 years or less!
How Do You Know If Your Tree Is A White Willow?
There are several ways to tell if your tree is a white willow. First, look at its leaves. Most white willows have smooth green leaves with no veins or spots. Second, look at the bark underneath the leafy part of the tree. Usually there is not much of a difference between the bark under the leafy part and other parts of the tree’s trunk. Third, check out its flowers and fruit set. These trees usually do not flower or fruit. A few white willows flower in the spring, but their flowers smell awful and are only around for a few days. If your tree does flower or fruit, you’ll need to look for other signs that it is a white willow.
White willows can be divided into two groups: weavers and archers. Weavers grow as a wide, spreading “V” shape and have long, flexible branches perfect for weaving. Archers grow in an upwards direction and have strong, flexible branches perfect for archery. Unlike most trees, white willows spread laterally rather than growing upward.
Why You Should Care
You may be wondering why you should care about a tree that grows in most parts of the world. Well, the white willow has many practical uses. First, its wood is incredibly strong yet light. Native Americans used it to make canoes. Today, it is commonly used to make furniture and musical instruments.
Second, its bark has many practical uses. Native Americans used the bark to create clothing, canoes, and even baby cradles! Today, its bark is used in modern medicine.
White willow bark is very high in a chemical called salicin. Salicin is a natural pain reliever very similar to aspirin. It reduces fevers by lowering body temperature and can reduce inflammation and pain caused by injury or disease. Aspirin is actually just a synthetic version of salicin.
How To Care For A White Willow Tree
So you have found a white willow tree you’d like to plant, but how do you take care of it?
First, you’ll need to make sure it has plenty of space. Because these trees spread out rather than grow up and down, they require a lot of room. They are best suited for a field or some other area with nothing around it. If you do plant it in your yard, keep it away from your house since its brittle branches could cause injury.
Second, you need to make sure it has plenty of water. Since these trees grow so quickly, they need a lot of water to keep their wood strong. It is best to water your tree daily or twice daily if there is not enough rain.
Third, you’ll want to fertilize it. Since these trees prefer fertile soil, adding manure or other natural fertilizers can help them grow better and stronger. If the ground is not very fertile where you would like to plant it, try digging in some fertilizer before planting it.
Finally, you’ll need to prune it. Since these trees grow so quickly and have brittle branches, they can become a safety hazard. You should always prune your tree every winter or early spring before it starts growing again. This will help keep it from getting damaged and prevent it from getting too big for its home.
Recent White Willow Tree Research
Recent research into white willow bark has discovered that it can slow the growth of cancer cells in lab experiments. White willow bark contains a natural painkiller similar to aspirin and prevents the formation of blood clots. This could lead to a new treatment for cancer or even the common cold. Of course, further research will be required before it can be used safely and effectively.
White willow trees are truly magnificent gifts from nature that can be enjoyed both for their beauty and practical uses. Whether you choose to plant one in your yard or use it for a science project, you’ll be glad you took the time to appreciate the gift of nature.
Gift Giving Idea
If you’ve recently gone on a first date, or if you’re planning your wedding, or if you’re invited to a baby shower, consider gifting the mother-to-be (or any other woman who is having a birthday) a white willow tree. Don’t worry about how she’ll plant it–simply gift wrap the seedling and all she needs to do is drop it in some dirt.
If you really want to be bold, give her two.
White Willow Tree Pictures
Here are some images of White Willows for you to enjoy.
White willow tree seedling
A few white willow trees in a field.
A row of white willow trees growing along a river.
A small group of white willows growing by a lake.
A row of white willow trees growing in a field.
A group of white willows growing near a lake.
Return to Plant Identification.
Other Types of Willow Trees
While there are a few other types of willow trees, the white willow tree is the best known and most popular. Other types of willow trees include:
The Pussy willow is very similar to the White willow but has furry cat-like leaves. It’s also not quite as tall, so it makes a better indoor plant. It’s very popular for this reason.
Pussy willow tree seeds can be found in the spring and can be sprouted indoors. Pussy willow trees grow well in pots (if you get a large one, it can even be brought inside in the winter). It grows fairly fast but rarely gets over 6 feet tall.
This is another tree that is great for bird lovers since it tends to attract a lot of birds.
The pink willow is very similar to the white willow but has lighter pinkish-tan bark. This tree is also not quite as tall but still gets over 20 feet. It’s a great shade tree and attracts birds like the other willows do.
You can easily find this tree at most garden centers. It takes a little longer to germinate than the white and Pussy willow trees, but it’s just as easy to grow.
The grey willow is also similar to the white and Pussy willow trees but it has darker greyish-tan bark. It’s a fast growing tree that can easily grow over 30 feet. This tree also attracts birds.
Like most willows, this tree does best along the banks of a river or lake but will grow in most soil types as long as there is plenty of water and sunlight.
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Sources & references used in this article:
Assessment of environmental effects of the coal used in the Seyitömer thermal power plant (Turkey) on white willow by A Cicek, AS Koparal – Communications in soil science and plant …, 2006 – Taylor & Francis
White Willow by FJ Kinder, G Phillips, L Runnels, AM Hirsch, A Bunton… – whc-shreveport.com
Flex 19 by WW Bark – vitaminways.com
Salix alba (white willow) medicinal plant presents genotoxic effects in human cultured leukocytes by EL Maistro, PM Terrazzas, FF Perazzo… – Journal of Toxicology …, 2019 – Taylor & Francis
Determination of the drag coefficients of emergent and just submerged willows by S Wunder, B Lehmann, F Nestmann – International Journal of River …, 2011 – Taylor & Francis
A recessive form of the Ehlers–Danlos syndrome caused by tenascin-X deficiency by J Schalkwijk, MC Zweers, PM Steijlen… – … England Journal of …, 2001 – Mass Medical Soc
Contemplating antiracist mothering in the lives of White women in multiracial families by WS Allen – Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research …, 2017 – jarm.journals.yorku.ca
Russian Arctic warming and ‘greening’are closely tracked by tundra shrub willows by BC Forbes, MM Fauria, P Zetterberg – Global Change Biology, 2010 – Wiley Online Library