Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Willows Gone Wild !

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Weeping Willows, Willows Gone Wild, Garden Blog

Hello fellow readers,

Craig of Frelinghuysen admits he has a ‘love-hate relationship with his willows gone wild.’ He and Caroline have three Weeping Willows next to their pool which has been an ‘ongoing issue’ between them. Caroline, like me, hates to kill trees. ‘They’re the most beautiful trees on the property but cause countless hours of cleanup,’ explains Craig.

Two of the trees were planted when they moved in; along their border for privacy in a dry part of the yard where grass didn’t grow. They then added another near the backwash after their pool was installed. Seems Mr. Willow ‘loves chlorine as he quickly caught up with the others.’ In truth, willows thrive in water and have invasive roots that will seek water if deprived.

Craig’s willow dilemma begins in early spring when the buds pop and ‘shells fall all over the place’. Every two years he re-seals his patio and the timing must be perfect, with no wind, otherwise the shells will be entombed in the sealer.

‘Next come the wormy furry things that clog the filter,’ describes Craig. Those are their long pussy willow-like flowers called catkins.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Weeping Willows, Willows Gone Wild, Garden Blog

‘Little wormy furry things’ aka catkins

From the time the trees leaf out he removes ‘bags and bags of debris’ including sticks. They’re soft wooded so typically they don’t cause problems if mowed over. That is, until Craig ran over a thick branch that wedged into the drive pulley of his tractor causing a raucous of vibration as if the tractor was falling apart.

Then there’s the blackbirds that nest in the trees. ‘Several Moms fly back and forth feeding their insatiable young, leaving strafe marks.’ Strafe marks I ask? ‘Long paths of bird doo-doo on the patio the full month of May,’ rants Craig. At this point I am on the floor with laughter.

When I set out to write about dirty trees I thought I’d mention the messy gypsy moth dilemma too. Craig thought his town treated for them by selectively spraying sticky goop in the trees. That’s amazing, I commented, as typically its oaks that are devastatingly affected. He checked with the town and learned they didn’t spray. ‘Our trees have the dreaded giant willow aphid that produce a substance called honeydew which explains the huge clusters of ants I now have. Yuck!’ What to do? Stay tuned!

Garden Dilemmas? askmarystone@gmail.com

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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