Our New Willow Tree

There was a huge thunderstorm the other day that blew through our neighborhood. It felt like a hurricane was sweeping through as it shook our home, which is one of those Craftsman homes people are starting to build again. The winds really started whipping around leaves and debris all over the place. It only lasted about twenty minutes and then everything calmed down. So we decided to venture into the outdoors and assess the damage. We were devastated to see that the old, large weeping willow in our front yard had been struck by lightening and was nearly ripped in half by the wind! At least we still have all the memories of the tire swings and picnics that we enjoyed under the tree. I could see that the kids were visibly upset, so in efforts to cheer them up, I proposed the idea of planting a new one. Their eyes immediately lit up and I knew that it was a hit idea.

trees wrapped in burlap


After the tree service removed the pieces of our beloved dead weeping willow (rest in peace), we were ready to go pick out a new tree. When we arrived at our local nursery, I realized this might be a bit more difficult than originally planned. They had hundreds of trees from ones it burlap sacks to ones in plastic pots. Some wilt over, some of then shot straight up and so many different colors of leaves and trunks. We narrowed our search down to purchase another willow tree. The first one grew so well in our front yard that the willows must like the type of weather in our area. The kids decided on a different species of willow called the Salix discolor, or better know as a pussy willow. They thought the fuzzy little buds that it grows in the spring were so cute and they also liked that it was still a type of willow tree, similar to our old one.



new tree in hole


We loaded up our new tree and carefully drove home, trying hard to avoid bumps in the road. The first step was to dig a hole in a good spot. The son was a champ at digging, while my two daughters were much more interested in the butterflies that were hovering around. I told him that the hole would need to be about three times bigger than the root ball of the tree and only as deep as the crown of the trunk. We left a small pile of dirt in the middle to help hold up the tree while we are planting it. I also heard that it helps the roots from rotting as well.

Once we got the hole ready, I gently cut the burlap off the roots and removed all of the strings. Carefully, I teased the roots a bit with my fingers so it will be easier for them to expand. I picked it up from the root ball and cautiously placed it in the hole. The girls were a big help filling the hole back in with loose soil. They certainly take advantage of every possible opportunity to get dirty. I mixed in some compost with the loose soil to give some fresh nutrients to the tree. Surprisingly, that was enough to gross out the girls so they decided to go play inside while my son and I finished up. He helped me drag out the hose and we started watering the roots. The water helped settle the loose dirt, and we had to put a little more on the pile after it was a bit more compacted. Then we applied a fresh layer of cypress mulch to conserve the water for the tree roots. I just love the freshly cut wood smell that you get from cypress mulch.

I decided to check on the tree a few hours later to see how well it is settling. It still seemed a little wobbly, so I decided to stake the tree so we would not have another blown over tree disaster. I buried three stakes around the tree and loosely, but tautly tied strings attaching the tree to the stakes in different directions. They will probably remained attached for a few weeks or so, just until the roots become more establish and can support it. It will be a lot of fun making more happy memories under our new willow tree.

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