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We have a small (about 5' tall) weeping willow tree we bought from a home improvement store. It was planted in our yard about 2 years ago. There have been a few new branches that have grown, plus the leaves appear healthy going by this and other sites I've looked at.

My question is this: we have not been regularly watering it during dry spells, and this past dry spell has been especially dry. Would ensuring it has plenty of water encourage new growth, or should I prune or fertilize it to promote more growth?

  • Do you mean Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica) or do you mean Kilmarnock Willow (Salix caprea 'Kilmarnock')? – Bamboo Mar 17 '16 at 11:14
  • It appears to be the Salix babylonica, judging by descriptions and pictures. – Joshua Nurczyk Mar 17 '16 at 11:33
  • Water, then - Salix babylonica does require a fair amount of water. – Bamboo Mar 17 '16 at 12:09
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    As an alternative to Jim Young's leaky bags, I bought a piece of 4"x10' pvc pipe and had them cut it in half at the store. I dug a hole with post hole digger and buried about 2' in the ground. I dug the hole about 2' away from the trunk when I planted it. You want to crumble the dirt up as best you can and repack it around the pipe. You may also want to put a scrap board on top and give it a light tap. You can then fill the pipe up with water and let it slowly saturate into the ground. – Dalton Mar 17 '16 at 13:44
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    I forgot to mention. The issues I had with it were that when I didn't let the dirt pack in around the pipe, the water just rush around the sides till it was level with the ground inside the pipe. The light tap helps to stop this, but if you drive it in too far, the dirt will plug the bottom and it never seeps out. Don't drill holes down the sides to help. I tried this and ended up taking them back up and caulking them closed. The guy at work that told me about this just lays a 2x4 on top and sledge hammers them into the ground. I worry about the pip shattering that way. You can paint them too. – Dalton Mar 17 '16 at 13:47
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Water, water, water for the first year or so. Once the tree is established (thriving) you can do as you have been. Be sure to water the area around original root ball to a bit beyond the hole in which it was planted. Fertilizing this zone (and a bit beyond too) will speed up this process, but fertilizing isn't essential.

Roots just meander 'any ole which way'. Ones that don't have water die. Ones that don't get oxygen die. Roots are stupid. They don't really seek out water or minerals, even though the end result is something like they did.

BTW, there are leaky bags available that seem to do a nice job of continually watering new trees, if you prefer to just hook up the hose to refill the bag every few weeks.

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