Red-Stemmed Willow Adds Beauty to the Winter Garden

By Charlie Nardozzi

It's often difficult to find color in the winter garden, especially in northern climates. One of the best ways to introduce color during this dark season is to grow trees and shrubs with brightly colored bark. A new variety of willow can be added to the list of possibilities ? especially if you're planting in a wet area.

'Britzensis' white willow (Salix alba 'Britzensis') is a fast-growing variety that can grow 6 to 8 feet in one season. Left unpruned, it will reach 20 feet tall and wide. Most gardeners, however, will want to prune it back to 2 feet tall in late winter to encourage the new colorful growth. The bark on new shoots turns a brilliant red and orange in fall and winter, rivaling the showiest red-twigged dogwoods. 'Britzensis' grows best in full sun in USDA zones 2 to 8. Because it can tolerate wet soils, it's an excellent choice for growing in moist soils along streams, ponds, or in low spots where other shrubs don't thrive. Prunings from this willow are also excellent for use in floral design and basket making.

For more information about this easy-to-grow, colorful shrub, go to: Bluestem Nursery.

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