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Red Willow
Salix laevigata
  
About Red Willow (Salix laevigata) 21 Nurseries Carry This Plant Red Willow is one of the most common riparian trees in California, usually growing in or very near creeks, at elevations from 0-5000 feet. It is an extremely fast growing tree - growing up to about 50 feet in height, and often more than 50 feet in width within 10 years if it gets plenty of water. The bark is ridged and grayish, though it sometimes turns reddish with age. Its form is variable, but it will often grow from multiple winding trunks, some more or less straight up, and some growing out far away from the base, even horizontally, and laying along the creek bottom before growing upwards again. Twigs are reddish and flexible when young. Leaves are 3-4 inches long, lanceolate and shiny green on top, dull whitish green underneath. This tree is mostly deciduous during the winter, but can start growing back leaves early during warm snaps in the winter. Yellow flowers grow in drooping catkins. In female red willows, the catkins turn into tufts of cottony seeds, which are windborn, often in large quantities, for 2-3 weeks in the spring.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Tree

Size
Size
30 - 50 ft tall
30 - 50 ft wide

Form
Form
Rounded, Spreading

Growth Rate
Growth Rate
Fast

Dormancy
Dormancy
Winter Semi-Deciduous, Winter Deciduous

Fragrance
Fragrance
Slight

Flower Color
Flower Color
Cream, Yellow, Red

Flowering Season
Flowering Season
Winter, Spring

Wildlife Supported
 
Bees, butterflies

Landscaping Information
Sun
Sun
Full Sun, Part Shade

Moisture
Moisture
Moderate - High

Summer Irrigation
Summer Irrigation
Max 1x / week once established

Nurseries
Nurseries

Ease of Care
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Cold Tolerance
Cold Tolerance
Tolerates cold to -20 - 10° F

Soil Drainage
Soil Drainage
Fast, Medium, Slow, Standing

Soil Description
Soil Description
Heavy moist soils. Soil PH: 6 - 8

Common uses
Common uses
Bogs and Ponds, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Companion Plants
Companion Plants
Western Sycamore, Arroyo Willow, Black Willow, Sandbar WIllow, Coast Live Oak, Yerba Mansa

Maintenance
Maintenance
Ants and aphids are attracted to Red Willows, though they seldom really hurt the health of this tough plant.. Tolerates heavy pruning. Can often be cut back to the ground and will quickly resprout

Propagation
Propagation?
For propagating by seed: No treatment. Use fresh seeds (usually only viable a few days). Seeds should not be covered or pressed into a medium. Seedbed should be kept saturated for the first month. Easily propogated from cuttings.

Natural Setting
Site Type
Site Type
Creeks or damp areas

Climate
Climate
Annual Precipitation: 3.2" - 70.1", Summer Precipitation: 0.14" - 3.61", Coldest Month: 29.2" - 59.1", Hottest Month: 53.6" - 87.7", Humidity: 0.18" - 41.19", Elevation: -11" - 8418"

Alternative Names
Common Names: Polished Willow


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora


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