Willow Plant Survival

    I have been asked about willow plant survival by volunteers, after they have noticed some plants appear to have died off, due to a variety of reasons. There may have been a drought that caused a plant to perish, or it may be related to rodent damage, where a gopher, mouse or mole has eaten part of the willow cutting. When I respond to these questions, it is with reservation, because it is hard to tell if the plants are actually dead or not, or if there is actually a chance of recovery!

 Over a number of years while monitoring planted willow crops, I have learned that willow plants may appear to have perished, but then, during the following spring, there is suddenly signs of recovery. While the tops of some plants are obviously damaged or dead, the root systems can still be alive! I have provided a few photos that show examples of plant damage and recovery to hopefully incourage confidence in your planting endevours!

 This willow plant had lost its leaves during a drought the year before and it appeared to be dead. Then during the following spring, new growth appeared at the base of the plant, promising future survival!

 Right and above Photo:

This willow plant lost its leaves and appeared to be dead, after a drought the year before. The following spring, new growth appeared at the base of the plant, promising survival of the willow in the future!



  Right and above Photo:

This willow plant lost its limbs and new growth to rodents that ate the branches off of the cutting. It was assumed that the plant was dead, until the following spring, new shoots appeared at the base of the cutting!


 Right and above Photo:

This cutting had no new growth develope on the stock during the first growing season, then during the following spring, new growth appeared at the base of the stock!


 Right and above Photo:

This newly planted willow suffered from frost damage or transplant shock and it appeared to be dying, just after planting. Within 2 weeks after the tops had wilted, new growth appeared on the trunk of the cutting. Sometime it will take even longer for the plant to show signs of recovery, but it will take place!


It is my hope that this tutorial on willow plant survival will add confidence to your planting programs, when they are impacted by a number of different events that damage your newly planted willow crop. Keep your hopes up, and over time you may see recovery of the willow cuttings that you have planted. All of the impacts mentioned above, will slow growth of the willows and it may take sometime longer for you to see the true result of your efforts, but don’t write off your odds for success just yet! At least not until you give the plants a chance to show you their natural ability to rebound after extreme stress, and conditions beyond your control!










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