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SALIX babylonica 'Navajo'

Image of Salix babylonica f. pekinensis 'Navajo'

Family

Salicaceae

Botanical Name

SALIX babylonica f. pekinensis 'Navajo'

Plant Common Name

Peking Willow

General Description

Despite a link between ‘Navajo’ and ancestors on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico, the parent species is an exotic that just happens to love the American Southwest. It originates in China where it is closely related to the weeping willow, bearing most of its characteristics except the weeping form. This cultivar was named for a specific group of trees planted by the earliest colonials, possibly from Spain. It is an upright, fine-branching, deciduous tree with a globe-shaped canopy. The yellow-green branches bear soft, inconspicuous yellow-green catkins in spring. Just afterward, long,slender green leaves appear. These sometimes have waved edges and their undersides are waxy pale-green. In fall, they turn to pale yellow. This tree is easily grown from cuttings, the reason its cultivation is so widespread.

While globe willow and its entire clan are water lovers, an excess of moisture tends to weaken this tree. Over-watering in the ornamental landscape leads to a host of pests and diseases. Its perpetual shedding of twigs and leaves also gives it a bad reputation for litter, not to mention the results of its weak branching in regions of high desert winds. Formerly grown as a substitute for the messy cottonwood, the globe willow has dropped from the recommended list in many dry communities because of its tendency for diseases. But it remains a popular tree for rapid forestation of dry sites.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    40'-50' / 12.2m - 15.2m

  • Width

    20'-50' / 6.1m - 15.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring

  • Native To

    Eastern Asia, China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site, Drought, Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow Green

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Yellow, Yellow Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Fissured

  • Usage

    Shade Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes