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Plant Care 101: Willow Hybrids

Blair Brown — May 29, 2019

Buckle up. There’s an amazing tree that grows incredibly fast, and you can plant in your garden right now! Willow Hybrids are some of the most popular trees on the market. Learn more about these amazing cultivars:

Willow Hybrids: Background

OurWillow Hybrid has ‘willow’ in its name, but it certainly doesn’t look like the Weeping Willow trees that we’re used to seeing. Well, there are a lot of different willow varieties, and even the Weeping Willow is a hybrid cross. These hybrids can be manmade but also occur naturally in the wild for willows.

The Willow Hybrid is a cross between the Salix Alba and Salix Matsudana. The Salix Alba is more commonly known as the ‘White Willow’ due to its light green leaves with white undertones. The Salix Alba has upright branches. It’s a deciduous variety native to parts of central Asia and Europe and boasts very strong wood that’s most commonly used in making cricket bats. Tannin is also found in the bark, which is used to tan leather.

The Salix Matsudana is a fast growing willow variety that’s more commonly known as the ‘Chinese Willow’. It’s native to Northern China and is known for its weeping branches, fast growth, and small narrow green leaves. Salix Matsudanas are often used as beautiful ornamental trees.


The Willow Hybrid is strong and extremely fast growing. They can grow to around six or more feet a year, which means instant privacy for your landscape.

Willow Hybrids also create wind breaks. If your yard has big, cold drafts that come in, you can use a few Willow Hybrids. Also, if your driveway builds up a lot of snow, use a few Willow Hybrids to block it and keep your driveway clear.

Furthermore, this hybrid variety also has an extremely strong root system. It’s extremely adaptable to almost any soil condition: rocky, loamy, or even soil that’s heavy in clay. Combined with its cold tolerance, this tree can survive almost anywhere in the country.

It can survive cold temperatures down to about -20 degrees, and is recommended for growing zones 4 through 9 – that covers Washington to Florida!

Also, the strong root system helps prevent erosion. They’re perfect to plant on the sides of hills and gullies. Also, Willow Hybrids are commonly used in areas that are prone to flooding, helping to control rising water levels.

Aside from those obvious benefits, Willow Hybrids are perfect as ornamental trees. Deep green leaves provide a beautiful backdrop for homes and more colorful plants to pop against.

Willow Hybrid Care

Before planting your trees, consider their size. They can grow between 35 to 45 feet tall in rows and 75 feet tall on their own. Also, they can grow to be about 20 to 30 feet wide.

Unless you plan on pruning to keep them at a certain size, ensure that they aren’t too close to your driveway or home. To create a privacy fence, you can plant them as close as 5 feet apart.

Plus, Willow Hybrids will thrive in full to partial sunlight and tolerate your natural soil. Just be sure that your trees get enough water – they do extremely well planted near rivers and ponds. Make sure they get at least an inch of water each week, and increase watering during times of drought. For a deep watering, hold your hose at the base of each tree and count to 20. Place mulch around the bases of your trees in order to retain moisture and keep weeds at bay.

And you can give your Willow Hybrid Trees an extra boost with fertilizer in the early spring and early summer with a well balanced fertilizer like formula 10-10-10.

Lastly, prune your Willow Hybrid in the early spring. Make your cuts at 45-degree angles, facing upwards, to promote new growth. Cut branches towards the inside to thin your tree. To heavily prune your trees and maintain their size, cut the branches back to abouta third of their original size.

Blair Brown

Blair is the Content Marketing Manager at FastGrowingTrees.com, and though she's not your traditional gardener, the planting world is definitely growing on her (pun intended!). She's enjoyed digging into plant care and maintenance and growing her plant collection, especially with exotic indoor varieties.

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