Tree with curly branches

Salix matsudana ‘Golden Curls’

Salix matsudana ‘Golden Curls’, or Snake Willow, is a lovely small willow tree with a weeping corkscrew growth habit. Although the trunk and larger branches are upright, the younger branches truly weep downward in graceful curling gold and green tresses. The younger new branches and leaves are a golden-green color in spring and mature to bronze-gold branches in summer with soft willow green leaves. The leaves are also slightly twisted enhancing the tresses like effect of the weeping branches. The flowers, emerging in the spring with the leaves, are pale green and insignificant. In winter the entire tree has a sculptural aspect, and the curly branches with snow are delightful. This tree, when leafless, looks amazing with garden lighting. This is a fast growing tree and will reach 20 feet high and wide with in a few years. It is a fun bit of living sculpture for a garden, but be sure to give it enough sun and space to develop its lovely form or give it a good trim in late winter to keep it a manageable size for your space.

Members of the genus Salix are commonly known as willows. These woody plants range in size from the imposing weeping willow tree to small shrubs. While not fussy about soil quality, they generally require moderate to wet soil moisture. In the wild, willows are commonly found near streams, rivers and ponds. In cultivation, willows are often used to control erosion in such areas. They are easily propagated from cuttings; willows root and grow quickly.

Of the estimated 350 species in the genus Salix, most are native to the cooler, temperate and sub-polar regions of Asia, Europe and North America. Cross species hybridization occurs both naturally and through human intervention, which can make taxonomic distinctions challenging. The Chicago Botanic Garden’s collection contains almost 150 varieties among its more than 8,000 willows.

Salix ‘Golden Curls’ (Std) (‘Golden Curls’ Willow) – A relatively new cultivar hybridized from two beautiful and popular trees combines desirable qualities of each parent. A cross of the corkscrew willow S. matsudana ‘Tortuosa’ – with contorted and twisted branches, and the golden weeping willow S. alba ‘Tristis’ (also listed as Salix alba ‘Vitellina Pendula’) – with gold bark in winter and long pendulous branches. The hybrid has golden barked branches which are both contorted and pendulous. Very rapid growing and most useful in sunny sites on moist soils where it should reach 40′ in height. Easily propagated from either softwood or hardwood cuttings, and becoming fairly available in many sections of the country. Adapted for use in zones 4-8. The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery’s garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Salix ‘Golden Curls’.

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Corkscrew Willow Tree – Healthy Bare Root Plants – 2 pack

Salix Matsudana Tortuosa, Corkscrew Willow is a medium-size, upright tree that can grow up to 30 feet, with a spread of 15 feet. This popular tree is noted for its contorted and twisted branches and twigs. The branches arise from the trunk at an angle and grow up parallel to the trunk before they curve back horizontal. The winter branch pattern is most interesting. This graceful, weeping tree will make a nice accent to residential or commercial landscape. Corkscrew Willow branches can be added to any floral arrangement to add an interesting look. Pick out a beautiful floral container, and then add a large group of fresh or dried Corkscrew Willow branches in it. This will add a nice focal point to any table or room.

Technical Specifications

  • Purchase a 2 pk of 1 1/2 yr old bare root 12″-18″ tall.
  • Fast growing, unusual and interesting tree.
  • Will grow in clay, foam, sand, acidic or occasionally wet. alkaline, well drained soil.
  • Beautiful in fresh or dried floral arrangements
  • USDA zone 4b-8a

The corkscrew willow tree (Salix matsudana) is also known as the curly willow. It’s part of the willow tree family and is often grown for its attractive fall foliage color, fast growing habit, and unique branching structure.

About the Corkscrew Willow Tree

The corkscrew willow tree earned its name thanks to its unique branching habit. As the tree grows, its branches reach out horizontally and then twist this way and that, creating curls or corkscrews. This gives the corkscrew willow four season interest in the home garden. In the spring, it has lovely buds. In the summer, its graceful leaves and fast growing habit provide shade. During the fall, the leaves turn a bright, almost pure yellow color before dropping to the ground. Winter allows the corkscrew willow’s wonderful branches and intricate shapes to be seen against a backdrop of bright blue winter sky or white snow cover.

Size and Growth

Corkscrew willows are fast growing and reach a height of about 30 feet. Like other willows, they prefer moist soil. The roots stay shallow and near the surface, sometimes even pushing upwards as the tree ages. Keep this in mind when choosing a site to plant a corkscrew willow. These trees have been known to crack sidewalks and driveways or even break sewer and water lines with their roots. It’s best to plant them far away from homes and other structures at risk from their roots.

As the branches grow, they tend to reach out horizontally. During winter months, snow and ice may crack and break branches on the tree. Sometimes corkscrew willows get blown down prematurely during strong winds because of both their shallow roots and their branching systems.


Corkscrew willows are hardy from zones 4 through 8. It isn’t particularly fussy about its soil and can grow equally as well in clay, loam or sand. It can grow in sunny or partly shady areas. Because it likes moisture, water this tree during periods of drought.


Gypsy moths remain a problem for the corkscrew willow. These moths appear as small caterpillar-like insects in the spring to early summer and eat the leaves of the tree. Most horticultural extension offices do not recommend sprays or other controls. Severe infestations of gypsy moths may be controlled by sticky bands placed around the trunk of the tree. As the young crawl up the trunk to reach the leaves, they’re captured in the sticky tape and die. Aphids may lay eggs on the lower leaves but generally do not harm the tree.

Pros and Cons

There are several pros and cons to growing this tree in the home garden.

Reasons for Planting

On the plus side, its interesting branch structure, beautiful fall color and fast growing habits make it a desirable specimen tree. If you’re designing a garden for four season interest, you can’t go wrong with the corkscrew or curly willow, for its branches are dramatic and interesting when the leaves are gone. It is also good for areas where you want almost an instant tree since it grows to its mature height very quickly.

Downsides to the Tree

The downside to growing this tree is its short lifespan. Homeowners investing in their landscaping often want a tree that lasts for decades, not years. The tree tends to have a weak trunk and is prone to weather damage and cracking.

Popular Tree Choice

Because of its beautiful shape, unfussy nature and general disease resistance, this willow remains a popular choice among gardeners nationwide. Plant one and enjoy your new tree.

The twisted willow tree (Salix matsudana Tortuosa) is a large, aesthetically pleasing tree that’s prized for its characteristic twisting and winding branches. When grown in a large yard, it will add a new sense of style to the atmosphere, enhancing the landscape with a unique look that’s not found in other trees. But if you’re planning to grow twisted willow in your yard, there are a few things you need to know about caring for this specimen.

Twisted Willows Have a Short Lifespan

First and foremost, it’s important to note that the twisted willow has a relatively short lifespan when compared to other trees, with most specimens dying around the age of 10 years. If you’re looking to grow a tree that lasts decades or even generations, it’s best to avoid the twisted willow for this reason. Sure, some specimens may reach 15 or even 20 years, but the majority of twisted willows fail to see their 10th birthday.

Watering a Twisted Willow

Like all trees, the twisted willow needs water to survive. Many homeowners assume that rain is sufficient in keeping their twisted willow hydrated and protected from the dangerous of dehydration, but this isn’t necessarily true. The average twisted willow needs a minimum of one inch of water per week. So if you’re experiencing a drought or minor dry spell, you may want to install a sprinkler nearby to help supplement it with much-needed H2O.


Although twisted willows need water to thrive, too much water will have the opposite effect by leaving the tree susceptible to disease and illness. This is why it’s important that your twisted willow has proper runoff, with water running away from the tree instead of accumulating around the base of the trunk. If water pools up at the trunk, it will continue to seep down into the roots, eventually causing the roots to become waterlogged. This can lead to root rot, decay, and mold growth, all of which can prove fatal to an otherwise healthy twisted willow.

Give it Plenty of Room

Don’t make the mistake of trying to grow a twisted willow next to a deck, driveway, sidewalk, or any other structure. Because these trees have large, fast-growing roots, they may damage nearby structures. When choosing a location to grow your twisted willow, make sure it has plenty of space in all directions.

The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.

If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or

Corkscrew Willow

You have probably seen these lovely, twisted branches used in lavish floral arrangements at high end hotels and restaurants. If only you knew how easy it is to grow the fun, funky Corkscrew Willow Tree (Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’) in your landscape!

This unique small tree has the most amazing twisting, turning branches. It can be used in many garden applications, including as a privacy screen or living fence.

Why settle for straight, when you could add a little curve to your garden? Corkscrew Willow has interesting gnarled, contorted limbs, twisted branches and curly leaves. Branches arise from the trunk at an acute angle and grow up almost parallel to the trunk before they curve back horizontally.

This highly ornamental deciduous tree has a lot of personality and easily draws the eye. Use it as a special accent or specimen tree.

Corkscrew Willow gives you something interesting to look at all seasons of the year. Not many small trees offer so much visual appeal, especially in the long winter months. Find a place for this variety and you’ll be fascinated watching the twisting shadows play over your snowy winter landscape.

In spring, the new bare growth is pliable and can be harvested for cut flower arrangements. Professional florists put a high price on these, so it’s worthwhile to save these interesting branches for your use all year!

Spring foliage develops as curly, 4-inch long, lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are green on top, with white-tinted undersides. They’ll cast an easy-breeze light shade. You’ll love the refreshing, susurrus white noise as the slightest summer breeze plays and twirls through the leaves.

In autumn, the foliage turns to a lovely golden yellow hue. It makes a big impact in your Fall Garden. Of course, Corkscrew Willow’s appearance is at its best advantage in the winter when the foliage has fallen to reveal the one-of-a-kind branches.

The ornamental value along with its smaller overall size makes it a great choice for any number of usages in today’s home garden. One would certainly draw attention and comment as a specimen planting in your front yard.

Be sure to tell people who ask about it (and they will!) that nicknames include Dragon’s Claw and Curly Willow. Order today, we sell out of this special tree every year.

How to Use Corkscrew Willow in the Landscape

Corkscrew Willow develops a symmetrical, rounded crown. This gives it a formal look, but the wispy branches and leaves soften the look in a very pleasing way. The upright character of the tree is very uniform and makes a very nice clean statement in both the home garden and commercial landscapes.

Mostly used as a specimen tree in the landscape, the Corkscrew Willow is also a good accent tree used to mark a property line. The Willow is also a great variety for the wet areas that drains well but is too wet for most other varieties.

Tolerant of full sun to partial shade, this variety can be planted as a featured tree in a woodland setting, or as an understory tree for tall Pines or other evergreens.

In fact, it’s relatively tolerant of most soils and conditions. They are tolerant of salt spray so are often used in coastal landscapes.

Perfect as a backdrop for a cutting garden, the branches of this variety are often used by florist in expensive flower arrangements. Cut your own softwood in spring new growth in the early morning. Wrap the ends in a wet towel to keep moisture levels high.

There are so many ways to use Curly Willow in floral arrangements. Try a simple bunch bouquet of branches in tall glass vases to make a glorious modern display. Use in vertical arrangements with other long-stemmed flowers or greenery.

Or, use a single branch or two to add vertical height to arrangements. Use them upright in large modern arrangements, or twist and loop 2 or three branches together to add dynamism to seasonal compote centerpieces. They will easily boost the impact of outdoor containers, too.

Dried branches will deepen into a mellow reddish brown. Spray paint the branches or use them naturally. Have fun with these special plants!

#ProPlantTips for Care

These are fast-growing trees and will become an immediate visual attraction in your garden. If you need to block a view quickly, why not include a Corkscrew Willow or two?

Allow enough room to let the tree develop to its natural size and width to appreciate the full beauty of the Corkscrew willow tree. Corkscrew Willow prefers full sun, but it will grow in partial shade.

Keep this unique beauty away from patios, water mains, walkways or sidewalks. Willow grows shallow roots and loves water, so be sure to “call before your dig”. Get your utilities mapped out, and site this tree correctly. This is a tree for a wide, naturalized area.

Corkscrew Willow grows best when watered regularly. Use it at the edge of a Rain Garden to help filter polluted water runoff from roofs and streets before it reaches local streams and rivers.

Prune to remove any dead, diseased or broken limbs in the winter. Prune to gather pliable materials for your dried flower arrangements in spring.

Use it in the right spot and you’ll love this one-of-a-kind tree that’s sure to draw attention with its year-round interest. Don’t miss this chance to own your own “Dragon’s Claw” Corkscrew Willow!

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