Golden Weeping Willow - Zone 4
Characteristics of the tree
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Golden weeping willows are a cross between the white willow (Salix alba) and the Babylon weeping willow (Salix babylonica). The creation of the hybrid dates back to 1888, and they have since spread all around the world as a popular ornamental tree. They are medium sized trees, capable of reaching 20 metres in height. Their broad canopies droop with long pendulous branches that give them their name. These trees have relatively short lifespans, rarely exceeding 60 years. They will grow best with plenty of sun in moist to wet locations such as lowland areas and riverbanks. The leaves are lanceolate, bright green on top and pale underneath. The bark has a golden colour on young shoots that deepens to brown with age, and the trunk develops significant ridges.
Golden weeping willows make great ornamental specimens. They are a striking addition to a landscape, although their tendency to drop a lot of twigs makes for a bit of a mess. Their very extensive root system can be a problem if they are planted too close to pipes and drainage. On the other hand, these extensive roots make them a great choice for erosion control along the edges of waterways. As with other fast-growing willows, there is a great deal of research in recent years looking into the potential of these trees in the creation of biofuel. The bark contains salicin, which is the precursor of salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. It has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.