Curly Willow Tree

Useful Information about the Curly Willow Tree

Curly willow tree is variously known as Corkscrew willow, Pekin willow, Twisted-twig willow, Dragon's claw willow and Hankow willow. The scientific name of this species is Salix matsudana and it is famous for its unusual shape. It is a tree that has contorted and twisted branches, as its many names suggest, and this makes it an interesting addition to any yard. The tree tends to grow quickly and offers plenty of shade and this is the other reason for the appeal of these trees. The tree is endemic to China and northeast Asia. Twigs or small branches of the curly willow are sometimes used in floral arrangements as they can add interesting dimension and shape to any bouquet. This cultivar of the Chinese willow is an ornamental tree that offers a lot of drama and so it also popular as a bonsai tree. Whether you want a fast-growing tree to provide quick green cover in your garden or you want a tree with dimension and architectural interest, the Curly willow tree can be a great tree for your home garden.

On average, the curly willow tree grows anywhere from 20 to 40 feet in height and needs a spreading space of 20 feet also. These graceful trees need full sun and partial shade and thrive in moist soil. It is important to make sure that the base does not dry out between watering. However, it must be mentioned that this willow handles dryness and semi-arid conditions better than any other willow tree.  This deciduous tree blooms in the spring time although the flowers are not generally considered note-worthy. While the flowers are not considered showy, the foliage is thought to have drama. The tree has 4-10 centimeters long, twisted and curled lance-like leaves which are bright green on top and a paler green below. In fall, the leaves turn an interesting golden yellow adding to the visual impact of this tree. Experts say that the tree does well in varied types of soil such as those rated as acidic, mildly acidic, neutral and mildly alkaline with pH levels ranging from 5.6 to 7.8. It is considered hardy in USDA zones 4b through 8a.

As the tree grows really quickly it can sometimes seem invasive in terms of spread and the way the roots stretch in all directions. This tree is also vulnerable to bugs and diseases like other trees in the willow family. They are vulnerable to damage from aphids and gypsy moths. Willow leaf beetles may also attack them and you should watch out for black larvae which will turn to a metallic blue color as the beetle matures.  The larva feeds on the leaves of the tree and causes significant damage by making small holes on the leaves. Another creature that can attack the Curly willow tree is the lace bug and these cause the leaves to turn yellow and curl and drop off. Since the Curly willow tree is susceptible to diseases like crown gall, black canker and willow scab, you have to actively monitor the tree for signs of problems and treat it promptly. Another weakness of the tree is that it does not have very strong wood and so it can be easily damaged by storms and heavy winds.

This tree does not usually live very long and some gardeners say that its life expectancy is 10-15 years but the good news is that it is very easy to propagate. It is usually propagated from woody stem cuttings although softwood cuttings, hardwood cuttings and semi-hardwood cuttings also are found to be effective. So, once you have grown a Curly willow tree it is fairly easy to keep having a descendant of the tree in your yard!



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