The Crack Willow is a large native tree, usually found near waterways and on riverbanks. It gets its name from the fact that its branches break off easily with a sharp crack; when this happens naturally, the broken piece often roots into the soil near the parent tree. Ideal for planting on riverbanks and in boggy areas, the dense root system of the Crack Willow helps to prevent erosion.
Site and soil
Damp riverbanks and boggy areas. Will tolerate very low oxygen levels in the soil. Avoid dry soils.
Height and spread
Below are the approximate stages of growth, assuming sited in suitable conditions for this species;
After 10 years: 10m x 9m After 20 years 15m x 15m
Leaf and bark
The leaves are glossy and large, to 15cm, lance shaped with toothed margins. They are dark green, blue-green on the undersides. The bark is brown with thick ridges; young shoots have a red-brown tint.
Flower, seed and fruit
The Crack Willow is dioecious, that is male and female flowers are borne on separate trees. Male catkins are yellow, females green, opening in early spring. The fluffy seeds are released from female catkins in May.
Boggy areas and on damp riverbanks where the dense root system will help prevent erosion. Formerly Crack Willow was pollarded to help keep waterways clear of fallen branches and allow light to the water; the pollarded stems were used for baskets and fencing.
Early pollen for a range of insects. Several moth larvae including the Brimstone and Eyed Hawk Moth feed on the leaves. The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker searches for grubs in the bark and more insects colonise trees which have become hollow in the centre.
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.