Fun Facts About Weeping Willow Trees

You may not be able to tell an oak from a maple at a distance, but the weeping willow tree is iconic. Its gently sloping branches resemble cascading tears, which is where the name comes from. As part of our ongoing series on different trees, today, we’ll highlight the lovely weeping willow!

Fun Things On Weeping Willows

Weeping Willows Are Short

Compared to other trees, that is. They range in size between 45 and 70 feet. Oaks can easily surpass 100 feet, and maples can reach nearly 150 feet in height!

Weeping Willows Like Proportions

Unlike other trees, willows can be as wide as they are tall. When you consider how fast they grow – more on this in a minute – it’s truly astonishing. Imagine an oak tree 100 feet high as well as 100 feet wide!

Weeping Willows Are Fast Growers

If oak trees are the marathon runners of trees, oak trees are the sprinters. They take about three years to get established in the soil, but once they do, watch out! You can expect about 8 feet of growth per year! That’s much faster than other tree species, who often see not even a full inch in trunk diameter expansion, and two feet of height growth, in the best of circumstances.

Weeping Willows Are Sponges

If you have a yard that’s prone to flooding or full of low-lying ground, the weeping willow might be your new best friend. Weeping willows are thirsty, thirsty trees and will gladly soak up all the excess water you can give them. If your property is near a river, stream, or lake, its root system can help prevent soil from eroding during heavy rainfall or flooding.

Weeping Willows Are Pain Relievers

A compound found in willow bark is similar to aspirin and consequently is a traditional pain reliever. Male deer will seek out weeping willows when growing new antlers to help alleviate the itch as they antlers develop.

Willows Are Shortlived

Compared to other tree species, weeping willows add beauty to our lives, if only for a short time. (Short in terms of a tree lifespan). You can expect 30 years from a weeping willow or 50 if you take good care of it.

Willows Are A Literary Favorite

Those familiar with the Harry Potter books and films will recall the ornery Whomping Willow who does not like being disturbed. This fictional weeping willow may have been inspired by Old Man Willow, from J.R.R.Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In that series, the Old Man Willow is angry at humans and attacks those who enter his forest and get close enough for him to bind in his roots. Willow is also associated with creativity and magic for many centuries. It was important to the ancient druids of the Celtic nations, and to ancient Greeks, the willow appeared in myths concerning Orpheus and Hecate. It’s also associated with grief.

Weeping Willows Originated In Asia

They’re a common sight here in the US, so you could be forgiven for thinking they are native to the US, but this is not the case. They actually originated in China and weren’t introduced to the US until the 18th century. You’ve probably seen the Disney film Pocahontas and will recall the feisty Grandmother Willow who guides Pocahontas on her journey. Unfortunately, the real-life Pocahontas could not have rested in the shade of a weeping willow because she lived well over 100 years before willows reached American shores!

Get Tree Trimming Near Ann Arbor

Weeping Willows are majestic, but they lead relatively short lives compared to other trees. When the time comes to trim, prune, or remove your willow, call PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care. We are a licensed tree removal service serving Ann Arbor and select communities of metro Detroit. We also offer tree stump removal, so you’re not left with an ugly yard, as well as stump grinding, and we can also plant a brand new weeping willow if that’s what you’d like! To speak with an arborist, call (877) 454-8733 or leave us a message online. We’re happy to answer all your questions!

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