When you imagine a willow tree, you might picture it next to a stream or pond with its branches gently cascading to the ground. If you are fortunate enough to have one on your property, you know how beautiful these trees can truly be! Willow trees are low maintenance, but it never hurts to be safe. Call Whatcom Tree Service today to learn more about our services, including tree care, tree removal, and stump removal. Today, we want to share all about willow trees.
Where Do Willow Trees Grow?
Willow trees prefer to grow where they have access to moist soil, but they can do just fine in areas where they see plenty of water! They demand a lot of room to grow because of their size. Even if a willow tree doesn’t seem to be that large, their root systems are massive. These are deciduous trees, and they have green leaves with small, yellow flowers that bloom in the later months of spring. These trees grow quite quickly, and they add plenty of shade and beauty to any property. The best time to plant a willow tree is anywhere from the end of January to the middle of March, so you had better plant one soon if you want to!
How Do You Care for a Willow Tree?
Willow trees, as we mentioned earlier, are pretty low maintenance plants! However, just like any tree, they do require a little pruning from time to time in order to keep the tree healthy and shaped the way you would like it to be. Willow tree fertilizer is also a great way to ensure that your willow tree is getting all of the nutrients it needs to thrive. Older and more established willow trees do best with fertilizers that contain organic-based macro and micronutrients in order to get all of the nutrition it needs to stay sturdy and strong.
Why do Willow Trees Need to be Pruned?
Willow trees need to be pruned so that they can develop a strong center, trunk, and roots. When you prune your willow tree regularly, it can encourage healthy amounts of growth and keep the wood balanced, as it is a softwood tree. Once your willow tree has grown to the point where the drooping fronds can reach the ground, then you are able to prune away a clearing beneath the tree, if you would like. Any dead or broken branches need to be removed from the tree during the pruning process, so if you call in Whatcom Tree Service to take care of it for you, we would be happy to help. If there are any suckers growing from the soil floor all the way to the trunk, those will need to be removed, as they can stress the tree and lead to damages.
What Problems Can Arise from a Willow Tree?
Like most trees, there are some pests and ailments that target willow trees specifically.
- Gypsy moths – These moth caterpillars like to feed off of willow trees in between late May and early July. If you do get gypsy moths on your willow, they can defoliate the tree and leave it vulnerable to other pests and diseases.
- Crown gall – This bacteria causes galls to form on both the stems and the roots of your willow. It can lead to growth stunting, odd coloration changes, and dieback. It can also lead to decaying galls, which make the willow more vulnerable to illness.
- Willow scab – Willow scab is a fungus, and it can kill young willow tree branches and leaves in almost no time at all. You will be able to detect willow scab by checking for olive green spore masses along the veins or undersides of the leaves. This disease often goes hand in hand with black canker.
- Black canker – This disease, which often happens along with willow scab, causes your tree to develop dark spots on its leaves. There also may be gray-white lesions on the stems and twigs. If not treated, this can result in tree death.
- Bagworm – Another type of dangerous moth, their caterpillars dine on willow tree twigs and leaves. Defoliation is one sign, but perhaps the most obvious sign that your willow has a bagworm issue is the appearance of two-inch long bags of touch silk that usually hang from the branches of the willow. The defoliation caused by the bagworm can make the tree more vulnerable to other pests and slow the growth significantly.
- Willow leaf beetle – The larvae of the leaf beetle and the adult leaf beetles both will eat a willow tree to the point of no return. If you notice defoliation, brown leaves, and metallic, green-blue beetles feeding in clusters, you have a willow leaf beetle problem.
Contacting Bellingham’s Tree Service Professionals
When it comes to caring for your willow tree, no one can help you quite like Whatcom Tree Service. Call us today to learn more about our services and what we can do for your trees.