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Weeping willow in clay soil?

Posted by joel_bc z6 BC (My Page) on
Mon, May 6, 13 at 10:38

A friend was visiting our place - a neighbour who likes our landscaping was admiring the weeping willow tree we have. Our willow is located in a natural draw that affords water to the tree. The soil in that area is sandy-silty, and has supported the tree's development very well.

The neigbor was saying she'd like to have a weeping willow on her place, but the soil on her land is consistently clayish.

What I know is that her soil does retain moisture. And willows like water. But I didn't know what to advise, as I know that with the kind of soil our tree is growing in, the water is flowing (at some rate or another) through the root area. Can a weeping willow to do well in clay soil?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Weeping willow in clay soil?

Yes, my mother had a huge willow and her soil was very heavy clay. In fact, it had so much clay that she was able to have an unlined pond on her property. The only time the pond dried up was during an extremely severe drought; and that was partly due to the fact that she drew water off the pond to water the rest of her garden. During the ice storm of '98 the tree got severly damaged when a huge sugar maple cracked in half and landed on it. As a result, the maple and the willow were removed, but the trunks allowed to stay. By 2004, a full sized willow tree had grown out of the trunk. So yes, a willow will not only grow in clay soil but will thrive in it too.

RE: Weeping willow in clay soil?

Oh, just wanted to add that what a lot of people fail to realize is that a clay soil is usually nutrient rich. If I had a choice between a clay soil and a sandy soil I'd choose the clay hands down. I have sandy soil here that I'm trying to revitalize and it is a dead, infertile soil. With the exception of ants there is zero life in it. Not so with a clay soil.

RE: Weeping willow in clay soil?

I have sandy soil to and some trees like it, other does not. It is raining a lot here, I guess I benefit a lot from that.

Anyway, I think willows prefer clay soil so it might grow even better there.

RE: Weeping willow in clay soil?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, May 6, 13 at 15:14

Damp + sunny = willows. Some even grow in water.

RE: Weeping willow in clay soil?

as far as i am concerned.. the ONLY issue with trees and clay.. presuming its zone appropriate ...

is how you plant the tree in the clay ...

if you have a really bad clay.. and dig a NON-draining hole.. and stick a potted tree in it.. and drown it.. it will.. well.. drown .... [the test is called a perk test .. to determine the drainage capacity of the soil ]

so in clay .. you plant high.. planting only about half the root mass in the soil.. backfill with native soil.. and use a better draining soil to cover the rest ...

this gives the transplant time to acclimate.. and put its roots,..,.. WHERE IT WANTS ITS ROOTS ....

so if there is no reason a willow should not grow in your area... the soil itself should NOT matter ... if you dont kill it first ...

that said .... no willow should be within 50 to 100 feet of a house ... just horrible trees in regard to such .... but out in the middle of a park.. or golf course.. splendid ...

so that is the first issue on whether she should be encouraged to plant a willow .. its not for the usual suburban lot .. IMHO ...

good luck


RE: Weeping willow in clay soil?

Ken, you are 100% right on all points. The soil that the willow was planted in at my mother's property was mixed with top soil (clay soil, top soil mixed with peat and manure). The tree thrived and grew like a weed. As far as site is concerned, again you are right. My mom had a 40 acre property and the largest trees were at the perimeter of the property, with the exception of some specimens, far from any buildings.

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