TREES & plants

Golden weeping willow

Golden weeping willow in early spring.

Golden weeping willow is so named for its brilliant yellow twigs and graceful, drooping form.  Like all willows, this cultivar is very tolerant of wet sites; it is also highly susceptible to storm damage.

Botanical name: 
Salix alba 'Tristis'
All Common Names: 
golden weeping willow
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks
Landscape Uses: 
  • Shade tree, 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Mature Height: 
75-100 feet
Mature Width: 
50-100 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 2, 
  • Zone 3, 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil, 
  • Wet soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Tolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Intolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Tolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • Highly susceptible to ice damage, 
  • Roots prone to invading sewer pipes, 
  • Weak wood and branch structure
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Spring blossoms, 
  • Fall color, 
  • Showy flowers
Season of Interest: 
  • Late winter, 
  • Early spring, 
  • Early fall, 
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Weeping
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
  • Birds, 
  • Insect pollinators
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

A great upright willow for moist, wet areas. Tree have a shallow root system.
Full sun to partial shade, and pH adaptable.
Provide supplemental water in dry periods, plants benefit with a layer of mulch to moderate soil temperature and conserve moisture.
Prune in summer to late fall.

Disease, pests, and problems

Susceptible to ice and windstorm damage.
Numerous insects and disease problems: cankers, powdery mildew, leaf spots, willow leaf beetle, and scale.

Native geographic location and habitat

Central and southern Europe, western Siberia and central Asia.

Bark color and texture 

Brown to yellow-brown, corky and furrowed.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, 1 to 4 inches long, slender, finely toothed, lancolate leaves. Bright green to dark green changing to yellow fall color.
Willows are one of first plants to leaf out in spring.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Male and female flowers born in upright catkins. Male flowers are showy.  Insect pollinated

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruits are two-valved capsules.

Salix alba 'Tristis' or Golden weeping willow