Crack Willow Sapling Trees
Salix fragilisSapling Trees
- European. Spreading tree. Loves wet sites. Clones itself from fallen twigs.
- Sizes: Saplings Only.
- Good screening tree.
- Max. Height: 25m
- Bareroot Delivery Only: Nov-Mar.
Salix Fragilis Saplings
Delivered by Mail Order Direct from our Nursery with a Year Guarantee
Crack Willow, Salix fragilis, is a large, wide spreading deciduous waterside tree with dark green leaves and catkins in spring. The tree has beautifully fissured bark when it is mature and an upright canopy. Fallen branches are so good at rooting in wet soil that in some parts of the country, a single crack willow has cloned itself for long stretches of river bank. All willows are good for bees and butterflies. Salix fragilis gets its name because its branches break (relatively) easily in the wind.
See our selection of willow hedging plants or view our full range of hedging.
Crack 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).
History & uses of Salix fragilis
This tree is closely related to Salix alba.
Notes on planting Crack Willow:
Crack Willow trees will grow on any sunny site with moist or wet soil, apart from chalk.
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 Crack 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 Crack Willow:
Crack 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.
Crack Willow Hedging or Screening?
Willows are mostly too vigorous to make a "proper" neat and tidy hedge and crack willow is not recommended for hedging.
It can, however, be used as a great screening tree.
In the wild, you will often see big willow trees leaning on their side.
One option is to make them do this yourself by tying them down as they grow. Their main side branches will then grow upwards from the angled trunk, making a screen that ends up being several metres wider than the height of the tree.
Of course, you can just grow them normally - the above idea is only a suggestion!
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.