Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Black Willow
Salix nigra

Family: Salicaceae (sal-i-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salix (SAL-iks) (Info)
Species: nigra (NY-gruh) (Info)

Synonym:Salix nigra Marsh.

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #1 of Salix nigra by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #2 of Salix nigra by Jeff_Beck

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Thumbnail #3 of Salix nigra by Jeff_Beck

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Thumbnail #6 of Salix nigra by Jeff_Beck

By melody
Thumbnail #7 of Salix nigra by melody

There are a total of 10 photos.
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1 positive
1 neutral
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Feb 18, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This common native tree is found in wetlands and along watercourses. It grows about 3 to 6 feet/year and only lives about 75 to 85 years. It is supposed to have high wildlife value as a food source with pollen, seeds, and foliage. It is not for the refined residential yard as it is messy and brittle-wooded, as are other willows. Willow roots are also hard on any underground water pipes. It can be used in naturalistic landscapes. As an advocate for the native, naturalistic landscape movement, I don't always look to just have the pretty, decorative landscape, but also those that are good ecologically.

Negative Fires_in_motion On Jan 6, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is perhaps the ultimate "junk tree," as such fast-growing, weak-wooded, disease-prone, termite-condominium type trees are known in the tree care business. (Even more of a junk tree than other notables, such as Water Oak and Chinese Tallow.) The juveniles are absolutely adorable, with a clumping habit and beautiful light green leaves. The adults seemingly lose branches if a butterfly flaps its wings anywhere near them; trying to find an adult without a huge jagged wound is next to impossible. And adults are not exactly hard to find, as they line the banks of the Mississippi River throughout Louisiana and probably up its whole route to the north. So they do perform a service, in terms of growing in sand/rocks where other trees cannot, and they hence provide reliable animal habitat. But adults have such a clumsy and pathetic overall look that it becomes quite depressing having to look at the darn things out of my car window every time I'm driving on River Road. Seeing the occasional Live Oak or Sycamore interspersed with the endless trillions of Black Willow is practically cause for celebration... For all the reasons I've mentioned, this tree is physically not for sale in any nurseries in the state, as far as I'm aware. Not to be elitist or classist here, but the only ones I've seen in people's yards tend to be in very poor areas close to the river, in areas where people simply cannot afford to have them removed. (In the blink of an eye they'll grow to 50 feet, so it's understandable that lots of folks simply think they are being either environmentally-friendly or fiscally-savvy by allowing them to grow in their yards uncontested.) I feel these trees pose a large termite threat to neighboring houses over the long run, so I wish there were programs to educate people about how to identify and remove trees like this (and Water Oak and Chinese Tallow) when young. Everyone knows that Weeping Willows are short-lived and disease/insect-prone, so take away the ephemeral beauty of an adult W.W. and you're left with the sad monstrosity that is the B.W.

Negative TP_Soil On Sep 22, 2006, TP_Soil from Wildomar, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have two growing on opposite sides of my yard. They started out at 12 inches tall within 3 years one is 12 14 feet the other is 10 12 feet. There are a multitude of small ones sprouting up here and there. POSITIVES: grows very fast, providing privacy from nosey neighbors above us. Its roots will seek out water making it drought tolerant and hardy. I am in Zone 9 and summer temperatures are 92 105 degrees. The intricate root system also helps stop erosion on my slop. NEGATIVES: Its root system starves my other trees of water. The roots are invading my lawn and flower beds. It is prone to wood burring insects like carpenter ants. I also find dark larvae about a 1/2 inch long. Bladder galls are also common.

With that said I give this tree a thumbs-down. I plan to cut them down, kill the roots and plant Chinese pistache trees

Neutral rochha On Aug 23, 2004, rochha from Owings, MD wrote:

The wood of this tree is extremely light weighted, We cut down one in our backyard after it started leaning. I could pick up a giant 3 feet long log about 2 feet diameter no problem. I think it is a pretty tree but doesn't live long and falls over easily.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Cullman, Alabama
New Market, Alabama
Wildomar, California
Smyrna, Delaware
Hawkinsville, Georgia
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Iowa City, Iowa
Benton, Kentucky
Lutcher, Louisiana
Mount Airy, Louisiana
Vacherie, Louisiana
Galena, Maryland
Owings, Maryland
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Saucier, Mississippi
Bucyrus, Ohio
Birdsboro, Pennsylvania
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Summerville, South Carolina
Shepherd, Texas
Appleton, Wisconsin
Elmwood, Wisconsin

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