Goat Willow Sapling Trees
Salix capreaSapling Trees
- Native. Straight trunk & neat crown. Dry or wet sites. A pussy willow.
- Sizes: Saplings only.
- Good screening tree.
- Max. Height: 10-20m
- Bareroot Delivery Only: Nov-Mar.
Salix caprea Shrubs
Delivered by Mail Order Direct from our Nursery with a Year Guarantee
Goat Willow trees, Salix caprea, are one of the Pussy Willows, which have fluffy silver catkins which appear in early spring, while the branches are still bare, and have a lovely silver, silky coating of hairs before they ripen. These are great for bees and Salix caprea is well known for being a favourite with many species of caterpillar. The goat moth also lays its eggs around the trunk of this tree. Goat Willow is unlike other willow trees, with its oval leaves and its ability to grow on dry, chalky soil. It also doesn't propagate well from cuttings (these are grown from seed). It can be grown as a screening tree up to about 10-15 metres high. It is a decent windbreak tree.
Goat 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).
Common Names: Goat Willow, Great Sallow
History of Salix caprea:
Salix caprea means Goat willow and this name probably comes from an illustration in a famous "herbal" (an old name for a book on plants) by Hieronymus Bock, published in 1546. The picture showed a goat grazing on the tree and this book was still around when the tree came to be named with the modern system over 200 years later. It seems likely that this was the inspiration for the name, rather than the tree being especially popular with goats, who are known to eat almost anything!
This European tree has been naturalised in Britain since Roman times.
Notes on planting Goat Willow:
Salix caprea will grow on just about any soil and doesn't need damp terrain to do well, though it is also happy by water. It can be planted near the coast or in the city. A sunny site is required.
We've noticed that several books say that Goat willow doesn't do well on chalk, which is true of most willows. However, the Warren Nature Reserve in South London, a disused railway line converted into woodland, is practically carved out of chalk and has a number of Goat Willows growing happily in the thin soil on top of its mounds.
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.
Remember to water establishing plants during dry weather for at least a year after planting.
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 Goat 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 Goat Willow:
Goat 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.