Weeping willow (Salix spp.) grows 35 to 45 feet tall and spreads 35 to 45 feet wide, producing long branches that droop nearly to the ground as the tree grows. The branches connect in a broad, rounded crown and are susceptible to breakage. Weeping willows grow quickly and may need support the first couple of years as they get stronger. Staking is used to support a tree when it cannot stand without help, is threatened by strong winds or the ground around the roots is subject to frost heaving.
Things You'll Need
- Metal tree stakes
- Permanent marker
- Old garden hose
- Sharp knife
Drive a metal tree stake 6 inches into the ground with a hammer outside the drip line and rootball of the weeping willow so you do not damage the roots. Place the stake into undisturbed soil and at a right angle to the prevailing wind. Place another stake directly opposite the first one with the tree between them.
Determine the height of the ties on the tree by holding the trunk with one hand 6 inches above the ground. If the trunk bends above your hand, move up a few inches. Keep working your way up the tree trunk until you reach the point where the trunk does not bend. Mark the trunk 6 inches above this point with a permanent marker.
Cut two pieces of old garden hose with a sharp knife. Each piece should be long enough to wrap around the diameter of the trunk. Thread a length of wire that is 12 inches longer then twice the distance from the stake to the tree trunk through the one of the pieces of hose. Center the hose on the wire.
Wrap the hose piece around the trunk at the marked point. Twist the wire twice to keep the hose from slipping along the wire. The tree trunk should be in a hose-covered wire loop.
Wrap the loose ends of the wire around the tree stake. Finish the wrap with the cut ends of the wire between the stake and the tree. This keeps the exposed ends of the wire on the inside of the stake so they do not scratch or injure anyone walking too close to the tree stakes. Twist the ends together with a pair of pliers to secure the wire.
Install the second wire just like the first wire. Inspect and loosen the wires occasionally as the weeping willow grows to prevent girdling the trunk. Remove the stakes once the tree gains enough strength to stand by itself. This usually occurs within one to two years.
Tips & Warnings
- Weeping willow trees thrive in moist and damp soils. They will still grow well in drier ground, but will need regular watering.
- Surface roots of weeping willows are very tough and strong. The roots can lift sidewalk sections and damage lawn mowers during grass cutting. Keep these things in mind when planning the location of the tree.
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