Weeping Willow Trees - Knowledgebase Question

Poolesville, MD
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Question by fosters6
March 3, 1998
My questions relates to the general growing habits of weeping willow trees. We would like to plant one in a very wet section of our yard but have been warned that, because of their thirsty nature, their roots can become very invasive and wrap around water pipes, etc. Could you tell me if this is true, and if so, could we plant one on the opposite side of the house where the yard is drier but where there are no water pipes? Related to this, I have been told that there is a drawf weeping willow available that might be less intrusive, that will grown only about 30 feet tall, instead of the 40-50' for the "regular" one. Is this true and if so, do you know of any mail order nurseries where I might be able to order one? Many thanks.

Answer from NGA
March 3, 1998
Weeping Willows can absolutely wreak havoc with your plumbing. One of my references states that the weeping willow should not be placed within 30 yards of a dwelling with plumbing systems. They are very popular in wet sites because the roots can help to absorb excess water, of course, if they can't find all they need, they put the squeeze on your pipes.

I found a willow variety called 'Golden Curls' that is described as "golden-barked, weeping corkscrew willow with curly leaves. Ideal for the small garden. Ht. 30'." It is available from Carroll Gardens, 1-800-638-6334. I would still be concerned about the invasive roots, however. Have you considered other types of "weeping" trees, like weeping cherry (though this tree wouldn't thrive in saturated soil)?

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