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.



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

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:


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


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

Vienna, Virginia

Appleton, Wisconsin

Elmwood, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.... read more


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 cu... read more


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.