Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - May 19, 2008

From: Alabaster, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Deterioration of non-native weeping willows in Alabama
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a small lake behind my house. 8 years ago we planted two nice weeping willow trees, one on each corner of our yard down toward the lake. One started looking bad last year and we cut all the dead growth out. This year, the other one is looking bad...a lot of dead growth at the top where we can't reach. It is so thin now. We had a drought last year, but they should have had plenty of water from the lake. What could be the problem? What could be the issue?

ANSWER:

Although there are 54 members of the Salix genus that are natives to North America, the weeping willow, or salix x sepulcralis, is not one of them. It is a hybrid of the Chinese Peking Willow and European white willow. This USDA Forest Service website has some more information on the weeping willow, including the fact that it is considered invasive in several states, but not in Georgia. The same site says that the tree is susceptible to several diseases and insect damage. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the protection, planting and propagation of plants native to North America, so we do not have information on this tree in our Native Plant Database. However, we are always glad to try to provide information on plant care for plants already in the landscape.

One thing we learned is that the weeping willow is a very fast-growing tree, growing up to 8 ft. a year. It also has very brittle stems-those two factors combined can cause a tree to start to break down. Fast-growing trees are usually a bad idea, as they will age quickly and begin to deteriorate. Go to this introductory page to the Alabama Cooperative Extension Services for Shelby County. There are several links and contact information for agriculture and forestry. If one of the diseases or insects that plague weeping willows is causing problems in your area, the Extension Service office should have some information on it.

Here is a page of images of salix x sepulcralis.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Removing Creeping Fig Suckers
October 17, 2012 - Help Mr Smarty Plants, I am helping a neighbor remove a creeping fig from her property and want to know if there is any product that will soften, emulsify or remove the remaining sucker roots on the ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native begonias not blooming in Round Rock, TX
October 13, 2010 - My angel wing begonias won't bloom. I feed them with fish emulsion. What is the problem?
view the full question and answer

Failure of non-native mock orange to bloom
June 12, 2008 - We have a mature mock orange shrub that is very healthy but has not bloomed at all. What can we do?
view the full question and answer

What are the differences between Arbutus xalapensis, A. unedo and A. marina
August 29, 2013 - One nursery lists madrone trees as arbutus uneda compacta and arbutus marina. The other lists it as arbutus xalapensis, which is the only name I can find in the data base. There is a very large pric...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of non-native weigela and roses
June 29, 2009 - I have a Red Prince wiegala (spelling?) and while most of the branches have leaves and red flowers, there are some branches that never produced any leaves or flowers. Should I prune them? If so, can...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.