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Austrees

Austrees are hybrid willows, a cross between white willow (Salix alba) and Peking or corkscrew willow (Salix matsudana). White willows are native to North America; Peking willows are from China. Like poplars and cottonwoods, willows are water-lovers.

Austrees have many of the same disease and insect problems associated with most poplars and other willows. After a dry, cold winter, poplars and willows may show extensive dieback, dropping branches and twigs liberally; they are often considered to be a “messy” tree.

Austrees easily develop cytospora canker, bacterial wetwood and other stress-related diseases. Other problems include winter sunscald, storm damage, aphids and fall webworm.

Despite its problems, some soil conservation districts in Colorado recommend Austrees because of their fast growth, erosion control, shelterbelt and windbreak value. Austrees are successful for these purposes as long as they get plenty of water.

Willows in urban landscapes may have a longer list of faults than attributes. In addition to insect and disease problems, willows have vigorous, invasive root systems which may clog sewer lines or run under fences. Suckers volunteer off the shallow roots, creating a nuisance. In addition, fast-growing trees generally have short lives, weak wood and are susceptible to storm damage. Austrees may only live 10-20 years, and be very messy, regularly dropping leaves and twigs.

For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension reference materials:


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Updated Tuesday, July 22, 2014