Friday, June 13, 2008

Japanese Dappled Willow (Salix integra) Revisited

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about one of my favorite shrubs, the Japanese Dappled Willow 'Hakuro Nishiki' (Salix integra). It's a fast growing variegated willow that works well as a privacy screen and is hardy in zones 4-9. It's deciduous so it will be bare over the winter but the new growth in the spring time is fun to look at. It pops out with reddish tints on the tips of the leaves that eventually fade to a white and green "dappled" coloration.




I have a row of these plants along one side of our property. I didn't buy a single one. They all came from cuttings of this dappled willow in the picture above. My in-laws bought a few of these several years ago and this one at the edge of their patio has really enjoyed its location. With an occasional pruning they can be kept in check. What is really cool and really easy to do is to sprout new plants from cuttings. Just take a piece 8 inches long or so and put it in water. A week or so later you will have a new plant. Alternatively you could put the cutting into dirt either in a pot or in the ground and keep it wet and it should do the same thing. Like other willows their branches have a high level of auxins and one to two inch cuttings of branches can be used as a substitute for rooting hormone. Just brew a tea with the clippings by putting a bucket of water filled with little cuttings to steep overnight and you can use the water to stimulate root growth.


Although I haven't done this yet these willows can be trained into a topiary form as well as into a weeping tree. You just have to be creative with the pruning! I hope to attempt both of these projects in the future as soon as I have time...I say that a lot.


A few of my plants may have come from this willow which is planted near the other one in the first picture. If you're looking for a fast growing ornamental shrub with the potential to become a great privacy screen think willow, Japanese dappled willow.




For more information on plant propagation take a look at this post: Propagating Plants for your Landscape.

38 comments :

  1. Dave, I planted two of them early this spring. Thanks for the reminder how easy willows are to start from cuttings.

    I just love them - they're indeed beautiful, even at their current small size. They're even that beautiful and colorful in the shade.

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  2. They are really beautiful. They almost look like they have flowers when the new growth comes out (which I think is all season). Very pretty. I'd love one, but not enough sun and no room. Great job on your border, it will be stunning soon!

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  3. I believe this is the bush my dad has! I was in awe of it when I visited them a few weeks ago and saw its beauty. I am posting for Tina at "In the Garden" tomorrow and you will see a picutre of it then. Let me know if you think this is the same plant....

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  4. Dave .. I have always loved these willows .. they are gorgeous ! I didn't know how easy they are to root from cuttings .. I just wish I had the room to have them ! So I will enjoy yours ? LOL
    Joy

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  5. Gardengirl,

    I do enjoy looking at them. The dappled variegation makes them more unique than other willows. Your small ones will grow fast if you let them.

    Tina,

    You could put a couple out near your road. I seem to remember in one post you talking about a fence, that spot looked pretty sunny. It might make a good privacy screen for you!

    Skeeter,

    It sure looked like the same plant. You should take a cutting and bring it to your home.

    Joy,

    They can be cut to the ground each year. I know Frances does that. Or you could keep one in a pot!

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    Replies
    1. Dave, I would like to buy one of these bushes and put it in a pot and leave it on my deck year round.Would that be a problem ? I live in MI.What kind of pot should I put it in?

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    2. Dave, I would like to get a dappled willow bush,but would like to put it in a pot and leave it on my deck.I live in MI.so do i need to put it away for the winter,like in the shed? or can I leave it on the deck for the winter? and do I need to put it in a special kind of pot,so it will be ok for the winter? Thanks Mary

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  6. Dear Dave and fellow bloggers:

    I have just purchased and planted these lovely willows this spring, they seem to be thriving. My question is: when is the best time to prune them? Next spring, this summer, in the fall? could use some advice. thanks

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  7. Carla,

    Thanks for visiting! I've found that these willows can take a trimming whenever needed. The fall works good but if there are branches in the way feel free to cut them anytime. A spring trimming might remove the new growth which I would avoid since it looks so great with the red leaf tips.

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  8. I just got an end of season dappled willow - 1/2 off at our local garden nursery. I didn't know much about it (besides what was listed on the tag) but I'm looking forward to next season when everything pulls in. It is a great choice for the garden I'm trying to fill --- and this blog has been especially helpful !
    Thanks you.

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  9. Anonymous,

    Have fun with your new willow! They are very fun plants to watch grow throughout the season. I'm glad that this blog has been helpful! Thanks for the compliment!

    Dave

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  10. Can I plant these in the shade also?

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  11. Anonymous,

    I have mine in full sun but partial shade should be OK. Morning sun and afternoon shade would work. You could try full shade and they might do fine but the variegation might not appear as well. Try it and see. You could always take a cutting from it and root it as a backup if it didn't work!

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  12. I just purchased 2 of these (in tree form) I am super excited to read that like other willows these are going to be a snap to start from clippings! -absolutely beautiful! Do I need to be concerned with septic finger system/water lines? -I know willows are known to be extremely invasive. Also- what time of year is best to plant these? Thanks in advance for your help and enjoyed reading the other posts :) Tabitha

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  13. Hi Tabitha!

    Sailx integra is more of a shrub to small tree form and the roots shouldn't be as invasive as larger tree willows. That being said I still wouldn't plant any tree or shrub near a septic tank and I would steer clear of waterlines. If you ever had an issue with either system your tree or shrub might have to go! I would plant in the fall and if you are doing cuttings sticking them in the ground in late winter to early spring is a good time. You can really plant them anytime as long as you keep them watered several times a week!

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  14. have one of these lovely bushes in my backyard and last year it did wonderful - but this year it started off great but now I am noticing a lot of the limbs are starting to die off on the ends. They look as if they are drying up whle other limbs are flowering beautifully. It also looks like it is only the tips that are being affected. Or could it be I am only notiicing while the problem while it is still only on the tips? Could you please give me some suggestions as to why this is occuring and maybe some possible solutions?

    Thanks
    Glynnis in Newfoundland

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  15. Hi Glynnis!

    I've noticed the same thing on willows from time to time. Usually what I do is cut down several nodes below the affected area and get rid of the darkening material. It could be a couple things either frost damage which it should easily recover from or maybe blight which is a little harder to deal with. If it's blight trim it back like I described above and clean your pruning shears with a bleach water solution to prevent the bacteria that causes blight from effecting any other trees and plants you might use the pruners on. It's also a good idea to clean it after each cut so that you don't spread it to other parts of the plant. This is easy to do if you only have a couple blighted branches but much more difficult when you have many.

    One other thing it could be is dieback due to lack of water. If you have had any dry spells lately this might be what it is. Just cut back the dead growth and continue to take care of the rest of it. Without seeing pictures it's hard to make a 100% accurate diagnoses but hopefully I've given you a few ideas to narrow down the possibilities! Google "willow blight" on Google images and see if any of the pictures resemble your willow.

    You're welcome to send me a picture at thehomegarden@gmail.com.

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  16. Dave: My dappled willow appears top heavy. I planted it last year and it is now about 4 feet tall. The branches are leaning over tremendously. When I look at your photos, your bush seems so spry! Do you think it needs trimming? BTW - it is on the north side of the house and is subject to a lot of wind. Thanks!

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  17. Anonymous,

    It sounds like the new growth has overtaken what the stems will support. I would probably go ahead and trim it back to 2/3 of what you have now. That will also encourage new growth to branch out from the main stems and become more bushy. The wind shouldn't be a big issue for shrub willows since they will sway and won't be rigid against the wind. The willow in the pictures has been trimmed periodically to keep it more tame but also to take cuttings from! If you want a few more just drop the stems in vase of water and in a couple weeks they should root!

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  18. Hi, I have a row of dappled willows in my front yard and last year they were beautiful, they hung down like a weeping willow with pretty pink tips....this year they started out with pretty pink tips but then the ends ended up green and the pink was in the middle of the stem...also the stems are all pointing straight up and not willowing. I haven't touched them since late last fall when I trimmed them to about half their size, they are about 6 to 7 feet tall. Does anyone know why this would happen and how I can prevent it?
    Thanks

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  19. Hi Dave! I am trying to get instructions on how to prune my Dappled Willow so it looks like the tree it's suppose to. I don't want to do it until I have full instructions for fear of killing it or doing the wrong thing. Any help from you or if you know another source would be greatly appreciated!

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  20. Brenda,

    I'm sorry I missed your comment before! The pink appears on the new growth then gradually fades to the dappled appearance. The dappled willow doesn't weep like the weeping willow does. The branches have a more upright form.

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  21. Pat,

    Select your straightest limb and cut back all the others. (I would root a few of the branches in water just to have a spare for later.) Then keep the branches trimmed back to the central trunk. Suckers will appear (keep them pruned) since the dappled willow is more of a shrub than a tree. If you see it as a tree it has either been pruned that way or was grafted as a standard. When the central trunk has gotten as tall as you would like it to be and you want it to start branch pinch the top growth. That will encourage branching. I hope that helps!

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  22. Hi Dave,
    I need some clarification on when it is okay to prune. We are in Maryland ~ zone 7 I believe.
    Our dappled willow is a bit spindly with green leaves on the outermost reaches of the branches with variegated leaves near the trunk. We have new growth ~ pinkish. This is its second summer. It gets full sun (at least 5 hours) on the east side of our home, with some shade.

    You mention pruning in the winter or early spring and also prune when the leaves are green. Is it okay to prune down to the dappled leaves now?

    Thank you! Eileen

    Glad your are delighting in your little ones!

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  23. Eileen,

    It would be best if you would wait until after a hard freeze at this point. The plant will go dormant then you can shape the plant how you would like it. The new growth comes out with the pink on the leaves. If you are looking to stimulate more new growth for more pink and a freeze hits before the new growth has hardened off branches could be damaged. If we had more time in the growing season I think you would be fine like early August. Around here the first frost appears in late October which only gives 4-6 weeks for it to grow new branches and get them hardened off before the frost. All the leaves will be dropping soon so I would wait until winter or early spring to prune.

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  24. Dave,
    I put in a Dappled Willow last Spring '10 and it didn't do well. I let it be and this year it came back...like only half of it flowered and has leaves the other side is looking dead. It is located in a sunny/shaded area.

    What am I doing wrong? Does it need full sun and lots of water or what can I do to make it come back alive.
    Everyone said they are so easy to Thrive. Do deer like these and eat them and/or rabbits?
    Rosemarie

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  25. Rosemarie,

    It could be a lot of things ranging from weather to animals to plant placement. A sunny are is ideal but they will easily tolerate part shade and might actually prefer it in some areas that get excessive summer heat. They like water as all willows do and especially so in the first year. Deer will nibble on them but haven't been a big issue for our plants. I suspect that the branches may have died back either do to a water issue or a possible disease. In either case cut back the dead branches to live growth and clean your pruners with a 10% bleach solution to prevent future contamination. If you can send a picture to TheHomeGarden@gmail.com or upload a picture to The Home Garden Facebook page I may be able to be more specific! :)

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  26. Hi Dave,

    I have a dappled willow tree that is dropping its leaves. Can you tell me what the problem is?

    The leaves mostly in the middle of the branches are turning brown and eventually falling off. New growth on the ends seems healthy and green. The tree has been doing well since I planted it last year. It gets full sun, we have had plenty of rain this summer (upstate NY) and it has been doing well until the last week or so. I will email you a couple of pics that might help id the problem.

    Thanks! Deborah

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  27. I have several of the plants that have browned up and died. What can I spray them with?

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  28. I also have a dappled willow that is losing its leaves. I'm afraid to prune back all the dried branches because there would be only a few left. Could it be a disease that I should spray for?

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  29. I too found out how easy it is to start new plants from cuttings. I purchased one about ten years ago in early spring. The next spring I cut the branches to 6" above ground and stuck the branches into a pot I use for annuals in the summer. The bright yellow and red tinged branches looked pretty neat but when I pulled them out to plant the pot for summer to my surprise nearly all of them had rooted. I now have two that I trained to standard trees. The original plant sends out branches 8 to 10 feet long every year. To get a head start on a standard tree, root one of these long branches without cutting the top. Let it grow to the height you want then nip of the top (if side shoots appear before it reaches the height you want- just remove them). In two years you have a beautiful small tree. I pollard mine every early spring (February or early March before bud break, I'm in zone 5a) for a beautiful tree. I now have them growing in full sun to full shade. Leaf color by summer turn to a pretty chartruse green in the shade. They do need water when really dry conditions exist. Beware of Japanese Beatles - they love the leaves.

    I have one growing in a pot that stays out all winter and survives with ease without any protection. The pot is a 20" fiberglass pot that is not affected by freeze. The only difference in care is more water in summer is required.

    This plant is fantastic and beautiful in all aspects. Everyone should have one.

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  30. I love my willow! The tag on it when I bought it was Varigated Japanese Willow, but I guess that's the Dappled Japanese Willow or salix integra. Mine now measures 22' wide! I planted it over the buried grey water barrel to give it lots of water. It's worked perfectly. I have cut some clippings and plunged them in marshy soil that was tangled with canary grass, but of 25 plants, 10 of which grew at first, only one remains, I believe. I should go down and have a look. The canary grass choked them out, I reckon.

    We just dug a new pond (had it dug) 120' X 35'. I would like to plant one of these at the shallow end of the pond to give us some shade when we sit with the grandchildren . I'm going to cut a few lengths, push them in ten inches, cut them off two inches above the ground and wait for them to grow!

    I just did this with basketry willow our arts group grows nearby. They have been in the ground for about two weeks and have leaves on them already. Wish me luck!

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  31. I planted my 3 Dappled Willows around the perimeter of my house about 5 years ago. One of them is just huge and my aunt says I should cut it back, but I won't!! I'm thrilled to have the privacy. This week I bought a new one, but it looks a little different that the rest. It says on the tag 'SAUCE Hakuro Nishiki" then under that heading it says Salix Integra like the older ones. Is it the same?? I'm buying 2 more for the center of my acre yard to hide an old unused well and I'm hoping the above mentioned one is the same as my original Dappled Willows that grew so beautifully. One last thing, I'd love to take some cuttings and grow a few plants by my garage. How many of those "rooted stems" will I need to plant together to eventually be a plant like my original....one, or many??? Also, do I take the leaves off the cutting before I put it into water to root or not?? Thanks so much

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    Replies
    1. Most likely it is a very similar plant to what you have. Both are the same kind: Salix integra. The difference could be in the cultivar. One cutting will make the plant and should root very easily. I would take a few cuttings and try to root them then try planting them out where you want them. Remove any leaves that are on the stem that will be in the water. You cuttings should end up being genetically identical to the original!

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  32. Hi David,

    I have three of these trees infront of my house and they were doing great last year. This year, they seem to have a lot of branches in the middle where they are dry and dead. Also, in other areas, some leaves are drying and falling and the branches are dying and some other areas they look like they are doing great. It starts from the tips of the leaf dry and and die. I tried to cut below the branches where the dead parts are and this is when I noticed the inside of the tree dead.

    I am not sure what is happening and not sure how to help the tree. Could you please tell me what is happening to my trees? They are about 5 years old now.

    Thanks,

    Bill

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  33. We have 3 new shrubs planted in our backyard. We've had to surround them with chicken wire because someone keeps eating the branches. Every day we were finding more and more branches on the ground and all of the leaves are missing. We have deer in the area but I cannot imagine them in our backyard every night. Could it be rabbits?
    Betsy

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  34. Am loving reading all about this lovely shrub.
    I have a standard which has not been pruned enough so the branches near the graft are really thick. Can I still prune back into these thick branches to get it somewhat smaller.
    Thanks Heather

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  35. My dappled willow appears dead on top. After a very long and hard winter, there is growth at the base (that I remove), and at the top of the trunk. Should I remove the dead branches or is the tree a loss?

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