White Willow Sapling Trees
Salix albaSapling Trees
- Best willow for the coast.
- Good waterside tree.
- Max. Height: 20-25m
- Not suitable for clipped hedging. Good windbreak
- Tolerates chalk, but prefers acidic soil.
- Bareroot Delivery Only: Nov-Mar.
Salix Alba Saplings
Delivered by Mail Order Direct from our Nursery with a Year Guarantee
The White Willow, Salix alba, is a large native tree found growing on damp ground and riverbanks all over the country. The lance shaped, green leaves have a slight silver-grey tint. It will tolerate coastal sites with brackish water, but not pure seawater.
Salix alba is not suitable for a clipped hedge. It can be grown as a tall windbreak and screening tree up to about 25 metres high.
View our selection of willow hedging or see our full range of hedging plants.
White Willow plants are only delivered bareroot, during winter (Nov-March).
All of our young trees and shrubs are measured by their height in centimetres above the ground (the roots aren't measured).
General description of Salix alba plants:
This tree is a lovely choice for waterside planting. One of the larger willows, it is has a full canopy with side branches all the way down the trunk that support plenty of wildlife. The main trunk and big branches are mostly upright, with drooping smaller branches that create a billowing canopy on mature trees. The young, narrow leaves have a silvery coating of hairs which remains on the underside as they develop, which is where the name White Willow comes from.
White Willow catkins appear after the leaves have begun to appear in spring, a bit later than those of some other willows, but they are still quite visible. They provide a good food source for bees at a time when the size of their hives is increasing. On female trees, the yellow catkins will lengthen and release lots of little seeds that waft away on fine, wispy hairs.
History & uses of Salix alba
Willow extract has been used to alleviate pain since ancient times; Hippocrates described how to used powdered willow bark for headaches and fevers. In the 1800's, the chemicals in willow that gave this pain relief were identified and led to the discovery of Aspirin.
Notes on planting White Willow:
Unusually for a willow, Salix alba is an excellent seaside tree. It needs a damp soil and is unlikely to do well on chalky soil - this tree loves acidic earth and the more fertile, the better.
Prepare your site before planting:
It is good to dig over the area where you intend to plant several months in advance. Destroy the weeds first: nettles, brambles and ground elder are tough and a glyphosate based weed-killer is the best way to remove them. Then dig the soil over; remove rocks, roots and other rubbish. Mix in well rotted compost or manure down to the depth of about 2 spades.
If you have a heavy clay soil, it might be too difficult to dig over for most of the year. Heavy clay is fertile soil, so you don't really need to improve it; killing the weeds is still necessary.
Prepare your site for planting by killing the weeds and grass with Neudorff WeedFree Plus.
If you are planting in an area with rabbit and/or deer, you will need to use a protective plastic spiral for each plant, supported by a bamboo cane.
If your soil quality is poor, we recommend using mycorrhizal "friendly fungi" on the roots of new trees and shrubs.
You can also improve your soil with bonemeal organic fertiliser and Growmore.
After you plant your White Willow trees, the most important thing to do is water them in dry weather. You will also need to weed around the plants. Both of these will be necessary for at least a year after planting.
Water thoroughly but not too often: let the soil get close to drying out before watering your plants again.
Special notes on caring for White Willow:
White Willow is a very tough plant that shouldn't need special attention once it has established. If pruning is necessary, it is best do it in winter. Always hire a tree surgeon to remove large branches.
Hygiene & Diseases:
Dead, damaged or diseased wood can be pruned off as soon as it appears.
Disinfect your pruning tools between every cut if there is any sign of disease.
Burn or dispose of any diseased material, do not compost it.