I've read a lot of people warning others away from planting weeping willows. Especially near ponds where they will 'drink' up all the water, drop toxic amounts of leaves and branches in the water, and be a nuisance. But to me they are beautiful and fit nicely into my plans for drought-reserve fodder - in the event of a drought I can cut branches to feed the cattle, saving on hay expenses. I'm thinking of harvesting cuttings once the trees get going to play around with living fences for decoration and shade for the animals and kids.
We have a brand new pond. The dam runs North-South and the pond is on the East side, so to the West is a very steep slope down the side of the dam into a deep gully. The guy drove his tractors all around, I guess compacting the soil so the pond would hold water, but all winter it's been eroding on the sides leading down to the pond as the water runs down the hill over the areas the tractors killed the grass so there's a lot of bare dirt, and some of it is subsoil that turns rock-hard as soon as the sun dries it! I got 2 huge bales of rotting hay to try to mulch it so the native grasses and "weeds" I planted can have some hope of growing before the soil dries to too hard for the roots to penetrate.
I need to stabilize the bare soil before the rain carries it all into the pond.
I need to cover that steep slope on the West side of the dam.
I'd really like to plant my two weeping willows somewhere, maybe downhill from the pond if that's the best place.
I'd like a shade tree on one side of the pond to cut down on how hot the water gets in the summer, and for a nice place to sit and fish. The state gives free fish to people with new ponds - bluegills, catfish, and bass.
I don't know much about weeping willows, so I can't answer any of your questions. I am hoping some knowledgeable folk will see youf post though, so I am going to piggy back a question of my own here. I am curious if weeping willow branches can be propagated the same as other willow cuttings? I am guessing yes?
Joined: Jan 10, 2013
Location: zone 6b
I can answer that one - YES! They root if you look at them dirty.
Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
I guess I look at things differently from those who's comments you have read. I think willows are great. Create shade where you need it. Lots of biomass. Sucking up water and humidifying your air. Thus more cooling and moisture for other plants. Leaves in the water to help seal the pond and help the water beings. My property has several distinct areas. I would much rather sit and enjoy the areas under the trees than bake out in the sagebrush. I think mother nature agrees.
Joined: Aug 14, 2012
Location: south central VA 7B
We have willows on a couple areas around our pond. They will not emply your pond, unless it's only a couple feet deep. I would not recommend putting anything with a big root system anywhere near or on your dam. Although it sounds like you may a bit of an issue with your dam already, putting any form of tree will end up weakening it further.
Joined: Feb 22, 2013
Location: West Iowa
They may help hold the soil, but what about years down the line when they have massive roots and what happens when those roots start to rot? Water could also follow along those large roots and cause leaking in your pond. Your dam will will have problems. Weeping Willows are very picturesque when grown along ponds, with their weeping branches dabbling along the water. I guess if not much water runs in the pond, then large trees sucking up water could be problematic, but has there been anything scientific to prove it all? I'm sure their large size also helps shade the water, and causes less evaporation and trees tend to make an area more humid..
Thanks for this thread, while I am not going to plant a weeping willow near my small pond, this is giving me some inspiration to plant one on a wet area that is not growing much else . It may potentially give some fuel, fodder, privacy and imrove that wet area by drying it up some ?
Joined: Aug 14, 2012
Location: south central VA 7B
Any tree or even shrub with an extended root system will comprimise a dam and weaken the structure just like a side walk that begins cracked by tree roots. grasses are the best answer to hold soil and help stablize the integrity of the dam.
Joined: Dec 20, 2012
Renate Haeckler wrote:I can answer that one - YES! They root if you look at them dirty.
I've never been much of a looker...so I guess i'll try talking dirty to them and see if that works too!
Joined: Aug 28, 2012
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5 or 6
Lisa Paulson wrote:Thanks for this thread, while I am not going to plant a weeping willow near my small pond, this is giving me some inspiration to plant one on a wet area that is not growing much else . It may potentially give some fuel, fodder, privacy and imrove that wet area by drying it up some ?
Just to clarify... If you've got a wet area, you can easily plant any kind of poplars or willows, not just weeping willow. They are very tolerant of wet feet.
Most (or all?) kinds of willows and poplars can be propagated for free, by cutting any size cutting you like during the dormant period (winter until early spring, but not after the leaves swell, so act now), sticking it about 1/3 below ground and 2/3 above ground, keeping the ground moist, and then, if you like, looking at it dirty too.
Works at a residential alternative high school in the Himalayas SECMOL.org . "Back home" is Cape Cod.