What animals eat willow trees

What could be wrong with my weeping willow?

Good afternoon,
I can’t tell for sure what’s going on, but three things come to mind. The first is that there might be some type of leaf spot/canker disease such as Septoria. While I don’t see any spots on the leaves, diseases like this can cause death of the older leaves, more towards the base of the branch.
The second thing that I think of is herbicide damage. The lawn appears to be completely weed-free. That would suggest that some type of herbicide is used to keep it that way. Willow trees are very shallow-rooted and this tree might have picked up some herbicide.
Number 3 – some type of ‘winter injury’ may have stunted the growth of the smaller branches coming off the main branches. I often recommend that people stop watering their trees in August, in order for the tree to feel some drought stress, which in turn starts their hardening process for winter. If a tree goes into winter without hardening up, there can be dieback along the branches.
And it could be a combination of all three of these things. I wish I could offer a clearer answer, but nothing specific is showing up in these photos.

Kids Information on Willow Trees

Wipping willow branches image by Katya Mikhlin from Fotolia.com

Most children think of the weeping willow when willow trees are the subject, not realizing that many other types of willows grow in North America. Many native willow trees grow in Canada and the United States, with most having an upright form much different from the drooping branches of the weeping willow. You can teach your kids about willow trees in ways that are fun and stimulating, for you and for them.

Identifying Willows

Identifying the different types of willow trees in your area can be difficult, but with the use of field guides and online resources, you should be able to show your kids which types are which. Some of the things you can look at to try to recognize a willow tree are the length and width of the leaves, the size of the tree and its form. For example, a sandbar willow usually is never taller than 10 feet, the leaves can be 4 inches long and the bottom of the tree divides into many separate stems. The black willow grows to as high as 100 feet, has leaves that can be 5 inches long and usually has one or more wide trunks from which the branches sprout. Always pay attention to the geographic range maps that come with resources to determine what species grow near you.


An excellent place to find willow trees for your children to identify is along a waterway or in close proximity to a pond or lake. Willow trees typically grow near water, so it is possible to combine an outing that can have educational value into one that can also be fun, with other activities such as swimming or fishing involved. Making a collection of the leaves of willow trees is an activity with which you may challenge kids. Willows will actually grow from a willow branch planted in the ground; kids can easily accomplish this task and grow their own willow tree in a suitable spot on their property.

Willows and Wildlife

Many animals will eat the buds, flowers, twigs, leaves and bark of willows, providing them with a food supply. These animals include beaver, rabbits and deer. Willow trees are an important part of the diet of these creatures, especially in the winter when food is hard to locate. The flowers of willows are a major source of nectar for bees. While you may not often have an opportunity to actually watch animals eating from willows, you can show your kids where deer have browsed the twigs or where beaver have cut down willows close to the water and left the stumps.

Pussy Willows

The pussy willow can take the form of a tree or a very tall shrub. Searching for one with your children can be an enjoyable pursuit. The pussy willow is not difficult to find, since the fuzzy flowers, known as catkins, develop long before the leaves do, according to the “National Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees.” The catkins can emerge as early as late February or early March, giving you and your kids something to do as you search for them. Look for pussy willows in moist ground, along the edges of streams and ponds. Many will grow in damp soil in forests where pines, hemlock and spruce trees are abundant. Kids will enjoy presenting their parents with a branch of the attractive pussy willow catkins.

Preventing Erosion

One of the most important uses for willows is the prevention of erosion. The tree’s root system holds dirt in place and is a valuable asset along streams and rivers prone to flooding. You can show your kids examples of willows holding areas of a shore or riverbank together such as the sandbar willow, a species that occurs from Alaska to Ontario and as far south as parts of New Mexico. To identify this willow tree, look for narrow leaves on the limbs, only a ¼ to ½ inch wide, with a yellow green color and as long as 6 inches. Sandbar willow will usually grow in dense clusters of many trees along a river or stream.

Weeping Willow Tree

Everyone loves the familiar Weeping Willow tree (Salix babylonica). Its graceful, ground-sweeping branches add so much movement to your landscape. Best known for its rounded, romantic appearance with long sweeping branches, the Weeping Willow has so much to offer.

Spring comes early when you have a Weeping Willow; it’s one of the first trees to leaf out early in the spring with incredibly fresh, bright green leaves. You will love its narrow, sage green leaves swaying in the breeze through the summer.

The flexible branches grow up and out, dramatically arching up, then growing down to trail on the ground. In the fall, you will be delighted by how its golden yellow leaves develop intense fall color, as well.

If you are lucky enough to live on the water, you have an excellent soil type for a Weeping Willow. They’ll thrive when planted near a water source. The reflection of a willow tree in water is just as pretty as a picture.

There is no such thing as too much water for a Weeping Willow tree. If you have a spot in your yard with moist soil that stays wet or collects water, the Weeping Willow will help dry it right up.

Weeping Willows can adapt to drier soils as well. While it loves water, the Weeping Willow tree adapts well in many soil conditions, including some drought tolerance. Not many trees can handle that extreme, from very wet to dry.

It is also one of the fastest growing shade trees, with a growth rate of 8-10 feet a year. It will quickly reach its mature height and develop into one of your favorite plants.

It is fast to establish, growing quickly to beautify an area in the quickest amount of time. Every lake property or waterfront home should have one. Order today!

How to Use Weeping Willow in the Landscape

The Weeping Willow tree loves water and is often planted near ponds to prevent erosion. You’ll love the look of one or more planted at the edge of the lake or pond.

Use several dotted here and there on either side of a river or stream for a natural, gorgeous look. Try one as an anchor tree in a new Rain Garden or runoff swale to catch rainwater in a low area.

Plant one to completely block out an ugly boathouse, or other unsightly views in just a few short years. The privacy it creates is airy and friendly.

Most people love using them as a specimen plant that is allowed to grow naturally. Let the branches hang to the ground in an area that does not need to be maintained beneath.

Kids love sitting under the shady shelter of the branches. Keep your eye out for evidence of their “Forts” and “Clubhouses” under the canopy of the Weeping Willow tree. What a marvelous memory to gift your family!

The strong and flexible willow tree can be a wonderful reminder to work with life conditions, rather than fighting them. People often plant Weeping Willows to commemorate loved ones who have passed. Their beauty – and ability to survive in challenging conditions – can be a real helpmate during the rough first years of grief. Weeping Willow trees are a symbol of hope and growth, and they bring butterflies to your landscape.

#ProPlantTips for Care

There are some special considerations for Weeping Willow trees. To truly enjoy them, please understand their needs and allow for their nature to fully shine in the right setting. More than most, proper site selection is key for a successful relationship with the Weeping Willow that will add value to your property.

These large trees are often planted near lakes, rivers, or ponds to prevent the soil from eroding. Their surface rooted, aggressive root systems will help to keep the soil in place.

Do not plant this tree near a septic system, septic tank or drainage field, or near a pool, water main or underground water sources. Give it space, and it will be a fine, picturesque tree for you.

It’s difficult for grass to grow under a Willow tree. Instead, consider simply using mulch beneath the tree. Then, let the branches hang down naturally and keep life simple for yourself.

Weeping Willow is one of the last to lose its leaves in the fall. If you grow it in a mulched area, you really won’t even need to do any leaf cleanup.

These fast growing trees thrive in either full sun or partial shade.

Plant the Weeping Willow tree in your yard to experience how this mystical tree has caught the attention of artists and storytellers for hundreds of years. Order today!

Weeping Willow Tree

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Weeping Willow Tree is native to Northern China and is one of the fastest growing shade trees, usually growing over 24 inches per year. As a sapling, the tree starts as a thin trunk with few branches. As it grows, the branches grow up and then curve downward, which forms the canopy. It is supported by a stout trunk. This deciduous tree grows great by water and is even able to absorb standing water. Although they grow exceptionally well by lakes and rivers, they can adapt to other soil types, including sandy, moist, acidic, clay, and many others. The weeping willow is a thriving water tree, and it’s branched drapes to the ground when mature. This tree is a very fast growing one, and it’s also majestic enough to plant in upscale landscape designs.

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Yellow to silver-green blooms appears in April and May. The leaves are 6-8 inches long, light green, and narrow. Leaves are also long-lasting, often being one of the first to produce leaves in the spring and last to lose its leaves in the fall. During the fall, leaves turn yellow before falling to the ground.

1/4 inch brown fruit grows on the leaves, but produce little to no litter. The tree usually lives for about 30 years.

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The Weeping Willow Tree

The magnificent Weeping Willow Tree (Salix x sepulchral or Salix babylonica) provides an excellent addition to the shores of ponds and lakes. Environmentalists sometimes plant this tree in clusters beside brooks, so their vigorous roots systems will help prevent soil erosion. Some 400 different species of willows exist today, ranging in size from shrubs to towering trees with arching, overhanging branches.

A Historically Important Plant

People have cultivated willow trees for thousands of years. The plant’s bark contains ingredients which ultimately contributed to the development of aspirin, a necessary over-the-counter pain relief medication. Some butterfly species rely on the willow as an essential food source. Additionally, many cultivars of the Weeping Willow Tree provide vital seasonal nutrition for honey bee colonies during early Spring. (In parts of North America, some willows begin developing leaves as early as February.)

The Weeping Willow Tree: Visually Stunning

The Weeping Willow Tree possesses a characteristic appearance. It creates an umbrella-like canopy, its limbs covered with hanging leafy branches that arch outwards distinctively from the trunk. Leaves develop laterally along every branch; no terminal buds form. The light green foliage assumes an attractive yellowish-gold color during autumn.

Growing Conditions

These rapidly growing trees survive from Zone 3 through Zone 10. They range in height from 50 to 82 feet. Most varieties endure between 40 and 75 years.

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