• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Weeping willows near pond?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've read a lot of people warning others away from planting weeping willows. Especially near ponds where they will 'drink' up all the water, drop toxic amounts of leaves and branches in the water, and be a nuisance. But to me they are beautiful and fit nicely into my plans for drought-reserve fodder - in the event of a drought I can cut branches to feed the cattle, saving on hay expenses. I'm thinking of harvesting cuttings once the trees get going to play around with living fences for decoration and shade for the animals and kids.

We have a brand new pond. The dam runs North-South and the pond is on the East side, so to the West is a very steep slope down the side of the dam into a deep gully. The guy drove his tractors all around, I guess compacting the soil so the pond would hold water, but all winter it's been eroding on the sides leading down to the pond as the water runs down the hill over the areas the tractors killed the grass so there's a lot of bare dirt, and some of it is subsoil that turns rock-hard as soon as the sun dries it! I got 2 huge bales of rotting hay to try to mulch it so the native grasses and "weeds" I planted can have some hope of growing before the soil dries to too hard for the roots to penetrate.

I need to stabilize the bare soil before the rain carries it all into the pond.

I need to cover that steep slope on the West side of the dam.

I'd really like to plant my two weeping willows somewhere, maybe downhill from the pond if that's the best place.

I'd like a shade tree on one side of the pond to cut down on how hot the water gets in the summer, and for a nice place to sit and fish. The state gives free fish to people with new ponds - bluegills, catfish, and bass.

I'm zone 6B.

OK. Advice?? (Thanks!!)
 
Posts: 64
Location: Missouri
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Renate,

I don't know much about weeping willows, so I can't answer any of your questions. I am hoping some knowledgeable folk will see youf post though, so I am going to piggy back a question of my own here. I am curious if weeping willow branches can be propagated the same as other willow cuttings? I am guessing yes?

Thanks

J
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
9
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I can answer that one - YES! They root if you look at them dirty.
 
master steward
Posts: 4338
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
231
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I guess I look at things differently from those who's comments you have read. I think willows are great. Create shade where you need it. Lots of biomass. Sucking up water and humidifying your air. Thus more cooling and moisture for other plants. Leaves in the water to help seal the pond and help the water beings. My property has several distinct areas. I would much rather sit and enjoy the areas under the trees than bake out in the sagebrush. I think mother nature agrees.
 
gardener
Posts: 698
Location: south central VA 7B
87
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have willows on a couple areas around our pond. They will not emply your pond, unless it's only a couple feet deep. I would not recommend putting anything with a big root system anywhere near or on your dam. Although it sounds like you may a bit of an issue with your dam already, putting any form of tree will end up weakening it further.
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The roots wouldn't hold the soil in place?
 
Posts: 123
Location: West Iowa
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
They may help hold the soil, but what about years down the line when they have massive roots and what happens when those roots start to rot? Water could also follow along those large roots and cause leaking in your pond. Your dam will will have problems. Weeping Willows are very picturesque when grown along ponds, with their weeping branches dabbling along the water. I guess if not much water runs in the pond, then large trees sucking up water could be problematic, but has there been anything scientific to prove it all? I'm sure their large size also helps shade the water, and causes less evaporation and trees tend to make an area more humid..
 
Posts: 258
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for this thread, while I am not going to plant a weeping willow near my small pond, this is giving me some inspiration to plant one on a wet area that is not growing much else . It may potentially give some fuel, fodder, privacy and imrove that wet area by drying it up some ?
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 698
Location: south central VA 7B
87
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Any tree or even shrub with an extended root system will comprimise a dam and weaken the structure just like a side walk that begins cracked by tree roots. grasses are the best answer to hold soil and help stablize the integrity of the dam.
 
Jay Hayes
Posts: 64
Location: Missouri
16
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Renate Haeckler wrote:I can answer that one - YES! They root if you look at them dirty.



Thanks Renate.

I've never been much of a looker...so I guess i'll try talking dirty to them and see if that works too!

J
 
gardener
Posts: 1431
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
156
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Lisa Paulson wrote:Thanks for this thread, while I am not going to plant a weeping willow near my small pond, this is giving me some inspiration to plant one on a wet area that is not growing much else . It may potentially give some fuel, fodder, privacy and imrove that wet area by drying it up some ?



Just to clarify... If you've got a wet area, you can easily plant any kind of poplars or willows, not just weeping willow. They are very tolerant of wet feet.

Most (or all?) kinds of willows and poplars can be propagated for free, by cutting any size cutting you like during the dormant period (winter until early spring, but not after the leaves swell, so act now), sticking it about 1/3 below ground and 2/3 above ground, keeping the ground moist, and then, if you like, looking at it dirty too.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This thread needs a visual:


I'm going to plant some cuttings over the next few weeks to put outside the fence of my paddocks so the livestock can munch on any branches that hang over the fence.
 
Posts: 70
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The previous post by Marianne Cicala about tree roots destroying an earthen fill dam is SPOT ON!  Do not do that.   Ideally an earthen dam will be built with water impervious soil (e.g. heavy clay) on the wet side and porous material e.g. (sandy gravelly soil on the dry side.    The idea is to prevent the dam from accepting water on the pond side but drain dry on the down hill side.    But with respect to trees on the dam, any trees on the dry side will be stimulated to drive roots clear through the dam which will make leak paths that will cause washouts in the dam as the water follows along the root, especially if the root dies and breaks down.    One very effective solution is to instead plant RUNNING Bamboo on the dam.    I capitalized the word "running" because you will want a plant that spreads and invades any places that are damaged.   

The reason for calling for bamboo is that it tends to be a shallow rooting plant and will not invade water as persistent submersion kills the roots.    The bamboo is no wuss when it comes to roots, but its growth pattern is to establish a dense network of shallow roots that will tie the surface together with a mat that erosion would be hard pressed to disrupt.  The bamboo growth will be rapid reaching heights of 20 to 40 feet in a few years and so dense that it will shade out any tree saplings that would endanger the dam by growing quite large and pushing water seeking tree roots through the dam.   Running bamboo has an undeserved bad reputation because it so vigorously spreads itself.   However if one merely mows the boundaries of the grove every spring when the stuff sprouts, that is all that is necessary, just make sure that the boundaries are accessable.   However as bamboo roots cannot endure constant contact with water or saturated soil it will not invade your pond.  

The variety I grow can reach heights of 40 feet in places like Florida or the Gulf coast, but here in SW Missouri, zone 6 the climate keeps it at about 25 to 30 feet (at the most) and growing so thick that one cannot see through a 10 foot wide grove.  It is also a wonderful wind break to reduce evaporative water loss from the pond.  Even better in my case since I live on a gravel road, it is a fan tastic dust barrier,  But it seems to have a quirk that it will simply not cross a gravel road.  And the quirk to that is it can possibly succeed in crossing a paved road by putting out roots under the pavement.  The rhizomes can grow to lengths of 1 to 1.5 times the tallest stalks (aka culms) in the grove, but as previously mentioned if a rhizome trys to extend the grove, it will put up shoots in the spring that are easily taken off with an ordinary lawn mower, and the rhizomes can be cut with a shovel at the edge of the grove and it the sprouts are mowed off the rhizome beyond the cut will die.    The rhizomes it uses to spread look for all the world like a bamboo stalk growing horizontally just under the ground with clusters of roots at the nodes instead of clusters of leafy stems.    But do not plant next to a building or or where you cannot mow on all sides to prevent spreading.   Of course if it is exposedd to various animals such as horses cattle or goats, you may have to limit their access as they love it.   As it is in leaf all year it makes great winter forage but you may have to fence it as ruminants find it delicious and goats seem to have an especially voratious appetite for it.  Of course if you have trimmings from it, there is no need to work to dispose of it, just dump the trimmings where the goats can get at it and stand back.

The variety I am growing is Phylostachys Aureo Sulcatta, and if you do not speak Latin that translates to "leaves like corn, golden groove" and its common english name is Yellow Groove bamboo.  The bamboo is quite decorative and graceful, but if you plant it next to  your neighbor's fence you had best make a deal with your neighbor about mowing any invasion of his property or put down a root/rhizome barrier to stop its advance in that direction (of course along side his cow or goat pasture, there should be no problem at all.  

It seem that every year or two I find that I plant more of it for privacy or wind break or other reasons, and I now have developed fairly easy techniques to dig plants from the edges of my groves for planting and have refined the tools and techniques to make that fairly easy and effective and can plant a new 100 foot long grove in about a weekend provided I have enough of a grove to provide me with the requisite number of plants.   If anyone is interested I I have plenty of pictures showing the technique and results.  In as little as 2 to 3 years one can have a 6 to 10 foot bamboo wall and in 5 years a 25 to 30 foot wall.    (Too bad I am not in a gulf zone where I could grow a cousin of the bamboo I grow here.  It is called MOSA  and a new shoot coming up in an established grove will reach its full height of about 70 feet and 7 to 8 inch diameter the first year.  That is some macho bamboo !!!  My quite adequate variety is lucky to reach a more modest 25 to 30 feet and 1.5 inch diameter at most around here.   But there are all sorts of varieties with most any growth pattern you might want so far as size goes.

If you just want a few clumps of bamboo for landscaping, it would be best to stick with the so called clumping bamboos, but they won't spread themselves  like you would want if you wanted to plant bamboo that would take over dominate, preserve and reinforce an earthen fill dam.    Of course the bamboo will also stablize steep earth slopes, but in my experience you would want to start planting near the base as the bamboo seems to advance uphill better than downhill, or at least that is my experience here with the variety I have.   

You may need to check your local laws because many urbanites seem to have gotten bamboo classified as an invasive weed because of careless neighbors and a lack of understanding of this vigorous durable plant that has many agricultural advantages.  Let me know if you want to know more about this wonderful, useful plant.  
 
Posts: 155
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
you might also want to look into bald cypress.....can grow in the water and does a great job at stabilizing the soil.
 
I've got no option but to sell you all for scientific experiments. Or a tiny ad:
This is an example of the new permies.com Thread Boost feature
https://permies.com/wiki/61482/Thread-Boost-feature
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!