A British native, the White Willow is found growing wild mostly in the south of the country. An attractive tree, whose branches droop elegantly with age and whose narrow silvery leaves distinguish it from other willows. The White Willow makes a good specimen tree near water, but it is also commonly coppiced and pollarded for its young, flexible shoots.
Site and soil
Moist deep rich soils and boggy sites. Avoid dry soils. Makes a good tree in coastal districts.
Height and spread
Below are the approximate stages of growth, assuming sited in suitable conditions for this species;
After 10 years: 12m x 4m After 20 years: 16m x 5m
Leaf and bark
The lance-shaped leaves have finely serrated edges and grow up to 10cm. The upper surface is dull green, the lower glaucous, covered with white silky hairs when young. A white down remains on the lower leaf throughout the season. The bark is grey-brown and fissured.
Flower, seed and fruit
The yellow male and green female catkins appear on separate trees in April, the female releasing white fluffy seeds in June.
Wet woodlands, riverside planting, water meadows, coppicing, pollarding, stabilising riverbanks. The bark was once used medicinally and for tanning leather. The wood was used to make charcoal for gunpowder. A variety of White Willow, Salix alba var.caerulea is used to make cricket bats. When coppiced, the withies are used for basket making and fencing.
Bees feed are attracted to the flowers, and a range of butterfly and moth larvae, including the Large Tortoiseshell and Comma butterfly, feed on the leaves.
The main reasons for buying protection is to protect the plants against:
When it comes to deciding what protection to choose the golden rule is to choose the product dependent on which pest you are protecting against. The below will help you in deciding what height of protection you will need.
Vole, Mice 20cm
Roe Deer, Muntjac 1.20m
Fallow Deer 1.50m
Pest & Minimum Protection Height
Protection Type Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.