Our annual end-of-summer contest is here, come on down to the Dave's Garden County Fair!

Dappled Willow

Farmington, ME

Hello! I am new to gardening and need some advice on Dappled Willow (Hakuro Nishiki type). I just planted it about a 3 weeks ago in full sun location. I noticed that some of the pink leaves are drying out and turning brown while green leaves are turning yellow and are falling off. I have been watering daily to help the plan establish. Is it getting too much water? Or not enough? I checked the soil and it was moist but not soaked. I used shrub soil for planting and the area drains pretty well. I noticed that the plant flyer recommended part shade, although I am finding online that dappled willow can also grow in full sun. I am not sure what the problem is, but I don't want to lose this plant. I live in zone 5.

I would appreciate any recommendations.


Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

Your problem sounds like a water issue to me. How are you watering it? Just a little each day? With any new tree, I put plenty of water into the planting hole before I put the tree in, backfill with soil, and water again and then I mulch it well. After that, I give it a good soaking about once a week by laying the hose at the base of the tree and setting the water to a slow trickle--I leave that for at least 1 or two hours, depending on how dry it is. A good deep soaking encourages any plant to put down deep roots whereas shallow watering can cause it to develop shallow roots.

Farmington, ME

I watered it daily for the first two weeks, but sounds like it was shallow watering from your description. After I noticed the issues with leaves, I switched to watering every three days or so. But I might still be over watering it. Sounds like I need to start watering weekly and do a deep soaking instead.

Thank you for your advice!

Windsor, ON(Zone 6a)

It may also be transplant shock. You may want to use a transplanter fertilizer (avail. @ home depot or Lowes) It is a liquid that you dilute with water and water your tree with it. It has a high phosphorous (middle number) for root stimulating and IBA (Indole buteric acid) which is a rooting hormone. It helps the plant overcome the stresses of transplant shock.

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

In reference to the product momo125 is talking about: Miracle Grow makes one called Quick Start which I always use when transplanting. You could also try a product call Super Thrive (Wal Mart usually carries it). It's not a fertilizer so won't burn the roots of your new plant. It's a mix of vitamins and hormones and does wonders for plants. It might help your ailing tree.

Farmington, ME

Thank you all so much for your recommendations. The more I read about it, the more I think that it might be transplant shock. I will give it Super Thrive a try.

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

I wonder if a period of benign neglect might not be in order EXCEPT to learn its watering needs and follow them faithfully. The tree is going to have to live under the conditions it's in. If someone is in CCU, the solution is not to feed them well. Many companies sell many products that allegedly do this and that for a plant. Certainly a fertilizer with a formula based on an analysis of your soil would be advisable in half doses in the spring and fall, but not while the tree is under stress. You probably know that autumn is the ideal time to plant trees and shrubs. They have all winter then to develop a sound root system.

Unfortunately, yellow leaves are both a sign of overwatering and underwatering.

Good luck! If you have to replace the tree, please do it in the autumn.

Huntington, AR

I have a dappled willow, trained as a standard (pic below), growing in full sun here in Arkansas and have had no problems with leaf-burn. Also, though Dappled willows are more acceptable of dry soil than most willows, they are still a willow and can tolerate much water, I have several grown from cuttings in wet mud along a pond and they are thriving, both in shade and sun. My large trained one is growing in soil that has been constantly saturated by our record rain over the last year. You should not have a problem with overwatering, it does sound like more of a transplant issue, though most willows are among the easiest of plants to transplant, hot weather, hot winds, and full sun could exacerbate any transplant stress and cause your leaf problems. And my experience with several different willow species/cultivars has been that while fertilizer may get you even more rampant growth, most willows are perfectly fine without it. Good luck!

Thumbnail by peachespickett
Farmington, ME

I treated the tree to some Quick Start about a week ago. I did notice that the plant grew since it got planted, so it's a good sign. It also seems like the leaves stopped turning yellow/brown. Hopefully, it was just a transplant shock and it's finally getting over it.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts!

PICKETT, WI(Zone 5a)


Just wondering how your willow is doing? I have transplanted one on the woods and have one in a container. Both get ample water...and some neglect, but are both doing ok.


Frankfort, KY


Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

all upper case text is hard to read because there aren't ascenders and descenders on the letters like q and k.

New Berlin, WI

Does anyone know how to split or take cuttings from a dappled willow to get more plants?

Dixon, IL(Zone 5a)

I put in a dappled willow last year with a bunch of other shrubs for the birds to have cover. Mine had a hard time all summer last year but I just kept watering it. No fertilizer or anything Just water every 4 days or so . This year it is doing great!!! It grew more than any other of the nine shrubs I put in along my fence line. It doesn't have the pink tinge that I really liked but I am happy with the shrubby look. The tag said birds like it because of the density of the branches. To me the branches seem too 'soft' for birds but I'll see when it matures more.

Be patient and just keep watering it.

Woodbury, MN(Zone 4a)

Dsimono, just cut off a branch and stick it in damp dirt. Pretty easy. And lots of water.

Huntington, AR

I know it's been a while since CUTTINUP asked the question, but if anyone's interested, I took a cutting, tied it to a stake, continually rubbed off all side buds and just let the top grow, along with a few leaves just below the top. When it got about three feet high I pinched the tip, which forced a bunch of lateral buds to start growing, I let four or five branches at the top grow as they pleased, and just kept all the other buds and suckers pulled. That pic was from a year or two ago, I've got a new pic from a different angle. The tallest branches are about 10-12 feet, and the trunk is almost five inches across. I cut all the branches back to about 3 feet every winter.

Thumbnail by peachespickett
Canton, OH

I have a hedge row on a slight slope which is gonna be beautiful when it matures. The willows at the top are in poorer soil than the bottom ones. also they don't receive as much water due to runoff and are not growing as well. I am getting ready to mulch the whole row. should I incorporate some leaves in the soil for moisture before I mulch. any suggestions

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.