Information on Dappled Willow Shrubs

Save

Dappled willow shrubs (Salix integra) bring more than gracefully weeping branches to the garden. Picture an explosion of salmon-pink spring foliage that softens to cream-dappled, muted green in summer and brightens to golden-yellow in fall. Dappled willow cultivar “Hakuro-nishiki” (Salix integra “Hakuro-nishiki”) and “Flamingo” (Salix integra “Flamingo”) grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. Their leaf color is strongest in USDA zones 5 through 6.

Natural Habitat

  • Dappled willow species plants grow wild in Siberia, China, Korea and Japan. In western North America, coyotes take refuge in dappled willow thickets. As a result, the shrubs are sometimes called coyote willows. The wild plants appear at low and high elevations, usually near water. Cultivated plants are natural choices for difficult, wet soils, but they also manage on drier sites than many other willow species.

The Cultivars

  • Dappled willow "Flamingo" is a dwarf sport, or natural mutation, of "Hakaro-nishiki." This is good news if you have a small yard, because without heavy annual pruning, "Hakaro-nishiki" may reach 15 feet tall and 20 feet wide. "Flamingo" packs all its parent's ornamental punch on to a 3- to 6-foot-tall, 2- to 3-foot-wide frame, with the added bonus of brilliant red fall and winter stems. "Flamingo's" Dutch propagators report that its new pink growth opens earlier and holds its color longer than "Hakaro-nishiki's." Both cultivars respond to a midsummer trim with new flushes of pink leaves.

Dappled Willow Care

  • Dappled willows perform best in full sun, with afternoon shade where summers are hot and dry. They need consistently moist soil that's acidic to mildly alkaline. After the final spring frost, but before they break dormancy, prune the shrubs by one-third to encourage lush new growth. Wipe your pruning tools with a cloth soaked in isopropyl alcohol to sterilize them after use. Spring is also the time to fertilize them with a granulated fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants. Sprinkle it evenly over your willow's drip line, where rain falls to the soil from its outermost branches to the soil. Use 1 cup, or the manufacturer's recommended amount, for each 1 foot of the plant's diameter up to 3 feet. Increase the fertilizer to 2 cups per 1 foot for larger shrubs. To supplement the fertilizer and improve your soil's moisture retention, work a 2-inch layer of organic compost into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil once a year.

Potential Problems

  • Pests and diseases rarely trouble dappled willows. The biggest challenge they have comes from their freely suckering habit. While the shrubs release airborne seeds every spring, they spread much more quickly through suckers sprouting from their bases. To keep the willows from taking over the garden, trim the suckers as they appear, or at least once a year.

References

  • Photo Credit vicuschka/iStock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

You May Also Like

  • How to Care for Dappled Willow Trees

    The dappled willow tree is a small, ornamental tree that produces star-shaped pink blossoms in the spring. As the blossoms age, they...

  • How to Prune a Japanese Willow Tree

    The Japanese willow, also known as Nishiki willow, is related to the willow family. It is deciduous, like other willows, and is...

  • How to Prune Willow Bushes

    There are about 400 willow species and 200 known hybrids worldwide, according to the book "Willows: The Genus Salix." Of these plants,...

  • How to Trim a Dappled Willow

    Dappled willow is the common name for Salix integra "Hakuro Nishiki," one of the easiest shrubs to trim. You can do just...

  • Types of Willow Bushes and Trees

    Willows belong to the genus Salix, and they are characterized by lateral twigs that break off easily and soft, light wood. They...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Make a Vertical Clay Pot Garden

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!