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Irish native willow trees, Goat, Grey, Bay and Eared willows


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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 3:16 am    Post subject: Irish native willow trees, Goat, Grey, Bay and Eared willows Reply with quote

The native willows, Goat Willow (Salix caprea) (Saileach Dubh) , Grey Willow (Salix atrocinerea), Bay Willow (Salix pentandra) and Eared Willow (Salix aurita)

Ireland has the perfect climate for fast growing willows also known as sallys. The sallys enjoy our wet weather, especially when they are teamed with a growing location such as a bog, marsh or riverbank. Conditions such as this have contributed to the development of our four native willows, they are...


The goat willow (Salix caprea) 10m tall by 8m wide.



Grey willow (Salix atrocinerea) 10m tall by 8m wide.



Bay willow (Salix pentandra) 10m tall by 10m wide.



Eared Willow (Salix aurita) 2.5m tall.


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Salix

Leaf styles.
Even though these willows are deciduous, they are among the earliest trees to leaf out and one of the last to lose their leaves in autumn, ensuring a comfortably short leafless spell. The leaves of our native willows are between 5 and 12 cm long and from 3 to 8 cm wide, with the goat willows leaves broader than the other willows at 8 cm wide. Its leaves are also an oval shape, greyish green with an interesting fleece-like underside. At the opposite end of the scale is our bay willow (Salix pentandra); its leaves instead are glossy dark green, 2-5 cm wide, with a fine serrated edge. The bay willow received its common name due to its leaves resemblance to those of the bay laurel. Interestingly, like the laurel, its dried leaves also have an aromatic scent, which allows them to be used in the preparation of pot-pourri.

The willows wonderful bloom.

The flower of the willow, the catkin, which is produced from March to April, is truly a wondrous bloom. Not because of the claim that the distilled flower water is an aphrodisiac, but because of the visual and tactile beauty of the bloom. It emerges firstly, resembling and feeling like a fluffy kittens paw. The pussy willows flower then opens to display showy fine yellow hairs (anthers); these are welcome early colour providers, which are a vital aid to the plants pollination and subsequent seed production. Produced in May or June, the willows seeds are extremely light and so can travel long distances by wind or water. Within a few years, germinated seeds grow quickly from seedlings to fully-fledged trees with an extensive ground stabilising root system (remember riverbanks).

Planting and growing locations.

Our native willows prefer a heavy, damp soil with good access to sunlight. Given a fair supply of moisture, they will even tolerate city pollution and seaside exposure. Willows can even act as a single windbreak hedge, though they are quite untidy of habit, so I suggest you use them a part of a layered shelterbelt instead. Although tolerating slightly limey soils, the Irish willows tend to grow better in acid to neutral ground.

Flexible friend.

A willow growing quickly under good conditions will produce multitudes of soft and flexible, woody stems, ideal for the traditional wood weaving craft of wickerwork. Our original "flexible friend" these willow stems are used to create baskets, rugs, fences and the more recent decorative constructions, landscape and garden sculptures.

Growing information at a glance.
Deciduous
Quick-growing
Expected height and Expected spread as posted above over 30 years
Grow in full sun
Prefers heavy, damp soils.
Flowers golden catkins from March/April to May
Main pests are Sawflies, Aphids, Caterpillars and Leaf beetles.
Main diseases are Anthracnose disease and Rust.


Other interesting Willow facts.
It is estimated that the Willow in Ireland provides support in the form of habitation and food for 266 different insect species.

Research more in your own time......
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Chart shows approximate distribution of the native tree within Ireland.

Back to native Irish trees.

Willow Images courtesy
Gil Wojciech, Polish Forest Research Institute, Poland
Zelimir Borzan, University of Zagreb, Croatia
www.forestryimages.org

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Last edited by James Kilkelly on Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:04 pm; edited 3 times in total
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medieval knievel
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

is a kilmarnock willow just a common willow grafted onto other rootstock?
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chilligirl
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, I am planning to plant Willow Purpurea Irish Black and Willow Trianda. Can I cut those when they grow too big and plant the cut-offs?
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

medieval knievel wrote:
is a kilmarnock willow just a common willow grafted onto other rootstock?


Close enough, it is a weeping form of the goat willow (Salix caprea) grafted atop a standard stem/rootstock. This allows a long weep of the stems down the stems rather than across the ground.

Want to learn more about grafting, then you can have a look at this video post.....Grafting Fruit Trees, How-to Video.

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chilligirl wrote:
Hi, I am planning to plant Willow Purpurea Irish Black and Willow Trianda. Can I cut those when they grow too big and plant the cut-offs?


Trianda!
Planning on doing a bit of weaving?

Mature wood cut from the current year's growth will usually root if struck November to February in a sheltered outdoor location.
Good luck with it.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi GPI,

thanks for the info. Glad to hear that it is possible as I just assumed I could

Not planning to do too much of weaving but want a fast growing willow to make a windbreak as our garden has a sometimes nasty southwestern sweeping through. And I would like to use the willow for training peas etc against.
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medieval knievel
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

should kilmarnock willows get a haircut every so often? a friend's one is looking a bit topheavy, and if it needs trimming, i was thinking i could use the cuttings for something creative, possibly. if it's not too late to prune.
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

medieval knievel wrote:
should kilmarnock willows get a haircut every so often? a friend's one is looking a bit topheavy, and if it needs trimming, i was thinking i could use the cuttings for something creative, possibly. if it's not too late to prune.


Well winter is the bet time for pruning the Kilmarnock willows, but if you are quick now you should be ok. Just let your friend know that it is a bit outside the preferred time.Wink
If it is top heavy you can cut out a third of the stems.
Select the older ones, which are usually thicker.
If the stems left behind are scraping off the ground, you cut them back by half to an outward-facing bud.

How creative are you going to get medieval knievel?

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medieval knievel
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it wouldn't be my garden (which is about as big as an A4 sheet), so it depends on me convincing a friend who has about half an acre.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a slightly opportunistic query about wild willow species for the gurus Wink ....

In country hedgerows and near bogs and scrub I've noticed a more abundent crop of other types of willow (I think) compared to the 4 main natives discussed here. The two varieties I see more often than not would appear (to my untrained eye) to look like.

Salix purpurea (?)



Salix viminalis (common osier ?) Leaves appear spiky almost bamboo-leave like
when viewed in passing (eg, not inspected at close quarters)



Would I be correct in assuming that these are very common species of willow in Irish hedgerows in the countryside over the late spring /summer months or
are there more common species which resemble these which might be the main wild willow species around the countryside ?

--Ian[/url]
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iplogger1 wrote:


Salix purpurea (?)


Looks like it alright.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should clarify : Those photos are of those 2 species I mentioned ( I didn't take those photos). I am just wondering if those particular species of willow are very common in Irish hedgerows and scrub. I might take a photo of the 2 types of willow which I want to identify and post them here. I'm just wondering if those 2 species are common here in Ireland.

--Ian
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iplogger1 wrote:
I should clarify : Those photos are of those 2 species I mentioned ( I didn't take those photos). I am just wondering if those particular species of willow are very common in Irish hedgerows and scrub. I might take a photo of the 2 types of willow which I want to identify and post them here. I'm just wondering if those 2 species are common here in Ireland.

--Ian


Would be nice to see your own pics alright iplogger, so that we can be sure.
But for your information Salix viminalis pops up frequently in damp Irish areas, but is not native.
It can be a garden escapee or possibly planted for basket making.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are two images of cuttings from the two willow (?) bushes.
The first one appears to have some immature fruit which is attached
to the rear spine of the leaf.
The leaves of the second variety in this instance seem to have been
weathered by insects or some other agent.

Are these salix family ?


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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just looking across this topic after a long while. I had forgotten about this query iplogger1.

iplogger1 wrote:
Here are two images of cuttings from the two willow (?) bushes.




Are these salix family ?



Both look to be, yes.

iplogger1 wrote:
The first one appears to have some immature fruit which is attached to the rear spine of the leaf.


This in fact appears to be a form of willow or bean gall not a fruit or berry. These galls are created by midges, sawflies, and mites. These galls are an unusual growth of plant cells which have been stimulated by chemicals secreted or injected by the insects.
Inside the galls you usually find the grub or larvae
Usually these plant galls are not a major threat to the life of a plant.

They were asked about on a red oak here before...... red oak acorns?
Unfortunately thought the original poster has taken the pics down.

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