Growing a Weeping Willow Tree

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 169 Posts
August 29, 2012

A weeping willow tree.About 45 years ago, probably in 1967, when we were living in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, my eldest son won an art contest at school with a painting of a gorgeous weeping willow in the yard across the street from us.


The following summer in July on a very hot day, there was a dreadful electrical storm. The willow was split down the middle. I joined the neighbors in a crying fest and then asked for some cuttings. I was told by all the neighbors I couldn't plant in the middle of the summer. I was bound to try. I am a very stubborn person and not willing to give up on most things.

Now you have to understand about the soil in Oak Ridge. It is awful! There is a problem with huge rocks about a shovel's depth underneath the surface. These must be dug out before any sort of planting can take place. When I found a place for my tree, I was met with a "boulder" about 14 inches long and probably that big around. It took at least 45 minutes to dig that rascal out leaving a perfect "bowl" to hold all the water I was planning to give Mr. Willow.

I stripped all the leaves off some of the branches and put them in there along with some other goodies, like potting soil and such and planted my tree. It got a good watering every day and started to flourish. I must add that while I was planting the tree, all my neighbors were standing about laughing at me. At least two of them had degrees in horticulture.


Several years later as willows are wont to do, he started causing trouble in the pipes. The owner/manager of our apartment complex told the maintenance crew to snake out those pipes every day if need be, but "do not" touch that woman's willow tree. We left Oak Ridge in 1977 and the tree was still alive and taller than the 2 story building. Eventually the building was sold and torn down and the tree had to be removed for a business complex of some sort.

I suppose what I want to say is if you really want something to grow, and take very good care of it, you can plant it any time and expect it to flourish.

By Marty Dick from Knoxville, TN

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May 14, 2006

I have a weeping willow tree that is about 1 foot tall right now and I want to know how long I can leave it in a pot and what size pot it needs. It currently is in a 1 gallon nursery pot. i would appreciate advice.


14 Questions

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March 27, 2009

I have wanted a weeping willow tree all of my life, I am now 51. I have tried looking up various types so I know what they will look like when they grow, but am still not sure. In my area, they are selling cherry (white and pink), and "regular" and golden globe.

I want one that is not real expensive and doesn't get too big. Where can I find accurate pictures of the different types of weeping willow trees? I wonder if I should abandon the idea since we live in an urban area? I do, however, have a wetter back yard, which is away from streets and buildings. Thanks.


Hardiness Zone: 6a

By Constance Richey from Evansville, Indiana


March 27, 20090 found this helpful

I have a mini tree called a Mayten tree. It weeps like a weeping willow but stays about 10 tall. I trim the bottom like I do my weeping willow. It fits nicely in my rock garden. It was recommended by the nursery woman who designed my flower gardens. Another good thing about it is it doesn't drip sticky stuff like the weeping willow. It flows with the breeze, which I love.

March 27, 20090 found this helpful

Be careful of globe willows, they don't handle the wind well. We had all three of ours break off.

March 27, 20090 found this helpful

Hi Constance!
Look to see what garden centers you have in the Evansville area. They usually carry the trees and plants that will thrive in your zone. Also, go to some of the bigger gardening websites I(i.e. Burpee, Victory Garden (PBS) to get an idea of what kind of willow you are looking for. There are willows like weeping cherry and then you have your standard weeping willow (with the long wisps of branches that sway in the breezes (and the kind they make willow furniture out of).


If you have a wet area for the tree that leads me to believe you are looking for a more standard "weeping willow". They love having their feet wet. Do a little online homework and then visit your local landscape/garden center. It sounds like you have just the spot for a weeping willow but, do a little "information gathering" before you start digging. Good Luck!...maggie


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March 27, 20090 found this helpful

Be careful...their roots go so deep and can get into your plumbing. Ours did that all the time. We were always calling roto-rooter to cut them out! They are beautiful though!


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March 28, 20090 found this helpful

Search for "pictures of a weeping willow tree"lot of pictures & info there, good luck.

March 29, 20090 found this helpful

Just be sure to not plant your tree over or near your septic tank or drain field if you have one.

I think I'd consider a wheeping cherry tree instead.


Theyre smaller and get flowers in the springtime.


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April 6, 20090 found this helpful is the website you should go to. It is the Purdue Indiana University which is your state extension service. Click on the ag and natural resource link at the top. This will tell you about the trees that grow in your area, problems, and suggestions. I always go to the county/state extension links when searching problems. Best EXPERT to consult!

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May 8, 2010

How far away should I plant a weeping willow from my sewer line? I live in the city.


Hardiness Zone: 8a

By Wayne from Monticello, GA


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May 8, 20100 found this helpful

A lot of people won't plant any kind of tree close to sewer lines or foundations of buildings, etc., because the roots can raise cane with that kind of things, they can crack the foundations and I have a sister who has a lot of trouble with her sewer, because many years before she ever bought her house somebody had planted a tree close to the sewer lines running to house.


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May 11, 20100 found this helpful

Very far. The roots seek out water and will get into septic systems and other watering places. I'd pick another tree if I were you. Good luck!

May 13, 20100 found this helpful

You really DON'T want a weeping willow in your yard. Some years ago, when mine got into the sewer line and the septic tank, I called Roto Rooter to clear it. $200 later, I asked how long their work was guaranteed.


They told me, "with weeping willow, 6 weeks. Anything else, 6-12 months." A weeping cherry would be quite lovely... Grows slowly, lovely weeping branches; beautiful spring blossoms, few pests, no mess.

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March 4, 2017

I bought a weeping willow 2 years ago from Walmart and it didn't seem to be growing much. Then last year we had our usual drought, and it seem to burn up. So my question is, will it come back to life? Or is it dead?

I've cut back all the dead branches and I see no green on any bark. It's about 2 ft tall now. It's early March here so I'm hoping it's not warm enough yet. Thank you.

Will Weeping Willow Come Back? - tree with branches and main top cut off


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
March 4, 20170 found this helpful

You may have killed it by cutting the branches back. Ours goes dormant during drought and the winter. Then, in the spring those branches which seemed dead, come back to life. Willows have an extensive root system, so they generally come back. But, with it cut back as it is, I am not sure that will come back.


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March 5, 20170 found this helpful

Willow trees bloom in April and May. You can prune a young tree. It is best to prune in winter and to remove dead branches only. You can also give your tree some fertilizer. The tree needs water, and if it is dead, that may be what killed it.

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July 5, 2014

My willow tree died, but sprouted from the bottom. Will I her a tree or just a bush? Thanks.

By Gail T from Santa Fe, NM

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May 10, 2014

What kind of food can I provide my trees to ensure they are healthy. My trees are 7 years old.

By Joe W.


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December 7, 20170 found this helpful

Miracle grow makes tree stakes. Read on the packaging, as different spikes are made for different trees. You put them in the ground about a foot away from the tree.


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December 8, 20170 found this helpful

They like alkaline soil, so get fertilizer for that.

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April 24, 2010

I am interested in planting a weeping willow near a saltwater bulkhead. As it matures could it break the bulkhead? The bulkhead is old and has some cracks in it.

Hardiness Zone: 8b

By Betty from Gig Harbor, WA


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April 24, 20100 found this helpful

Weeping willow roots are very strong and they head to the nearest water source right away and will go through water pipes if they are weak and then it is a mess trying to deal with all the damage all the time, but they are beautiful though. My parents had them and we were always cleaning/roto rooting the roots out all the time. That is why I wont have one, but I am considering growing one in a huge pot, but it wont grow very huge though! Robyn


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April 26, 20100 found this helpful

I don't know what a bulkhead is, but I remember as a child my Mom the Gardener said never to plant them by a septic tank; the branches under the tree seek a water source and will clog your septic tank. Sorry, wish I had more to offer. Good luck!

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June 4, 2012

What is the best time of year to plant a weeping willow?

By Jana D


June 5, 20120 found this helpful

Never! Actually, it depends on where you live as to whether you plant in Spring or Fall. Do not plant in hot season and this tree is a water hog. Do NOT plant near a septic tank or water line as the roots will grow to the wet area and invade the pipes. I have a huge weeping willow that is near my house and it is a messy tree. This tree does best next to a pond or by the water.

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October 11, 2013

I am relandscaping a waterfront property. There is a large weeping willow that needs to be removed because the trunk is hollow from about the midpoint down to the roots. If I remove the tree and stump, can I plant a new willow in the same spot right away?

By Lynn

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November 11, 2012

This spring I planted a weeping willow. It was doing great until a few weeks ago. It started to get black spot on most of the leaves. We removed all the limbs. Will it come back OK and what is this?

By I. Fowler

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Check out these photos.

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 104 Posts
March 26, 2012

Thought tree lovers might like to see my enormous willow tree. Photos really don't do it justice. Standing beside it, however, is a truly humbling experience.

Old Weeping Willow



ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

May 8, 2010

How far from my house should I plant a weeping willow tree?


April 24, 2010

I decided I wanted a weeping willow and so we planted one in the front yard about 20 ft from the house and 15 feet from the street, but now I am worried about the septic system and foundation.

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