Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tenacity Of a Black Willow Tree

by Donna L. Watkins

Have you considered planting a Black Willow tree? Here's a story to consider ....

Black Willow Two Years Ago
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About ten years ago a couple of Black Willow trees dropped into our yard and it was perfect timing since we had a wet area in front of the garage portion of the house that needed something that wouldn't "drown" in that spot.

We had already lost a dogwood tree before realizing that we had a pretty wet spot there. As it grew we had to keep cutting branches off since it wanted to spread out and we didn't want the branches reaching into the porch beside it or have any roof damage.

It dropped hundreds of twigs into the 9 holly bushes and all over the walkway and ground each Spring and Fall. I considered it good exercise, but each year got worse as it took many hours on many days to get all the twigs up one by one.

But, I simply couldn't imagine taking it down. The birds delighted in resting there (not that they didn't have numerous other trees, but they seemed to like the maze of branches. The White Admiral Butterfly laid eggs on it , but we had plenty of other host plants it preferred.

Flower Bed Border Made with Willow Branch Logs
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It became evident when the tree had outgrown the roof line that we were going to have some serious problems now that it was growing beyond the reach of our tallest ladder.

With all the hours I'd spent with the willow twigs I added that to the list of concerns trying to convince myself that we had to do this. We had already cut off large portions of the tree to keep it from reaching for the roof, but it was just a tree that loved to spread out.

It was also now blocking the sun from the front flower beds by the walkway which had plants that needed sun to bloom, so it was affecting our hummingbird and butterfly situation too, besides bees and wasps.  Since we garden for wildlife, it soon became apparent that the number of reasons were mounting against it.

Willow Logs Are Still Growing
Two Months After Being Cut From Tree
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It wasn't easy but I finally pronounced the judgement and made sure I wasn't present when Randal cut it down on April 13th. I comforted myself having decided to use the wood from the branches to make logs that would put a pretty border around the rear flower bed we viewed from the breakfast area window.

He cut up the big branches into small logs and built a border around the verbenas that we have put in last Fall. But that didn't seem to be the end of it. Those little log pieces began to grow as if they were a tree, even though they had no roots. 

The photo was taken two months after the tree was cut down. It makes me want to cry to see it so determined to live and not die. I dead-head the verbenas every week and talk to those little logs. How silly is that!?

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