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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):


Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

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


  • Wet sites,
  • Occasional flooding,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil,
  • Road salt

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

Seasons 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.

Location of Salix alba 'Tristis' (Golden weeping willow) at the Arboretum