By Genus

Where Do Willow Trees Grow?

25 December 2020

There are more than 400 species of willow trees. Among these species, the weeping willow is the most popular one.

Willow tree growing are food to many animals like rabbits and deer as they feed on their leaves, while birds make them a home as they are perfect for nesting.

Apart from the weeping willow tree, other notable willow species are gold willows, arctic willows, red willow, musk willows, and black willows.

Weeping Willow trees are native to China and Central Asia. These trees grow near water bodies, like streams, ponds, and lakes. However, they can tolerate dry conditions if they are fully grown.

But for healthy development, they require at least four hours of sunlight and good drainage.

Even though willow trees can survive harsh conditions when fully grown, they do not flourish in all conditions.

In this review, we’re going to look at where you can grow willow trees.

U.S Hardiness Zones Of 4 To 9

If you live in the US and intend to grow a willow tree, you should be within the hardiness zones 4 and 9.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones show the regions where a certain plant can thrive best, depending on the lowest winter temperatures.

As a result, the weeping willow tree will do best in hardiness zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.

In the U.S., hardiness zones 4 and 5 are found in the far northern part of the country on the mainland’s central interior. These areas are cold and usually have a less consistent range of temperatures in winter.

Zones 6, 7, and 8 are in the southern middle part of the mainland and central coastal areas, while zone 9 falls in the warmer part of the country. This is the deep southern half of the country and on the south coastal margin.

Outside the USA, willow trees are also popular in Europe and Asia. The white willow also referred to as Salix Alba, is native to Europe. The name white tone was derived from the white tone beneath its leaves.

Besides, the white willow grows faster and tall, as it can reach up to 70 ft.

On the contrary, the weeping willow, also known as Salix Babylonica, is native to Asia. It is found mainly in China and central Asia. It grows between 35 and 50 ft.

The plant also has a lifespan of around 30 years to growth but can last longer if properly maintained. If you live in one of these regions, you can grow willow trees. However, you should also observe other conditions that we’re going to discuss below.

Well-drained Soils

Willow plants need rich and moist soil to grow healthy and steadily. So, even if you’re within the recommended hardiness zones, you will need to select an area with ideal soil and proper drainage.

The best soil should be slightly acidic with a lower pH level. Nonetheless, this plant can endure clay, loamy, sandy, alkaline, and compact soil.

In fact, these soil types are ideal for growing weeping willow. And if the soil is too alkaline, you can add some organic matter to it and reduce its pH level.

It’s best if you test your soil before planting the tree. Dig some holes and examine how quickly it drains water. If the soil drains water at a rate of 1 inch to 6 inches in one hour, then the soil has excellent drainage.

But if the water takes longer than this period to drain, you should add organic matter to improve drainage.

Near Water Bodies

If you want your willow tree to grow faster and without many challenges, then you should plant it close to a water body. This includes a stream, pond, river, or lake.

Most willow trees have long, far-reaching roots that will follow water bodies. The tree needs lots of water, and it thrives in it. The roots of the willow trees can grow up to 45 feet long on average.

Some species may grow even longer than this. That’s why you shouldn’t erect a willow tree near your swimming pool, septic tank, or water pipes.

They will be drawn to these places and damage them.

If you’ve got an area in your garden where water settles, like a swamp or flooding area, you can plant your tree at this spot. You will no longer have a flood area on your compound as it will absorb the water on the surface.

Although it can tolerate some drought, it grows well close to water.

Full Sun To Partial Shade

Willow trees require full to partial sun to grow steadily. These trees thrive in moist areas that receive direct sunlight. However, this does not mean that they will die if grown in shady areas.

These trees need at least 4 hours of sunlight daily. Therefore, if you live in areas with very little sunlight all year round, the tree may die.

Such areas include hardiness zones 11 and 12. Also, you should not grow them in hardiness zones of 1 and 2.


Although they thrive in almost any climate, their weak limbs and stems are susceptible to breaking and bending during storms.

In hot and humid climates near rivers, swamps, and ponds, willow trees are frequently found in Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana in the United States.

The seasons in Kentucky have a distinct beginning and end because of the state’s relatively mild climate. Arkansas experiences a wide range of temperatures due to its humid subtropical climate.

In terms of climate, North Carolina is similar to Tennessee, with a wide range of temperatures throughout the year.

South Carolina is best known for its white sand beaches and palm trees, it also makes an excellent place for willow trees to grow. T

Temperature zones vary greatly in Georgia because it has a portion of coastline near the Gulf of Mexico and mountainous regions throughout the state (Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains).

Alabama has a relatively mild climate because of its ideal location at the meeting point of air masses coming up from the Gulf and down from the rest of the US.

The climate in Louisiana is difficult to predict because there will be hot streaks and cold spells.

Open Space

The willow plant beautifies sceneries, but it shouldn’t be planted close to the house or very close to other trees. This is because it has long, far-reaching roots that can evade and spoil your home.

However, it’s not only horizontal but vertical as well. The tree should be grown far away from the power lines as it can grow between 30 meters and 50 meters.

Note that some willow species may grow below this height while others may exceed it. For instance, white willows can grow up to 70 feet.


If all the conditions are ideal for growing a weeping willow tree, it will be an exceptional addition to your garden. A weeping willow tree grows well in well-drained soils with plenty of sunlight in the area.

It does excellent in hardiness zones of 4 to 9. If you have a water body in your garden, you should plant a weeping willow tree near it.

However, you should avoid planting the weeping willow tree in the hardy zones that are not recommended. It will not grow well. Additionally, you should not plant it next to your swimming pool, house, or septic tank.

It will cause more havoc than good. All the best as you plant this deciduous perennial tree in your garden!

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