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Salix 'Sibirica'

Salix alba var. sericea 'Sibirica' - silver willow cult. ‘Sibirica’

Salix 'Sibirica' ©Susanna

The silver willows cultivated in Finland are very similar to each other and probably of Russian origin. This cultivar is a beautiful slender tree with weeping branches whose flowers swarm with bees in the spring. It has been popular in gardens because of the attractive silvery foliage; as the trunk thickens with age the vertical furrows and colour are also decorative. The tree is particularly attractive as it reaches maturity and the shoots of the large branches start to take on weeping form. From autumn to spring the bark of the crown’s leafless branches are glowing shades of red.

’Sibirica’ is at its best at the edges of open spaces and especially near water. Along the waterways of Lake Vanajavesi near Aulanko Park in Hämeenlinna, avenues of these trees are of national importance. Sometime after the 1960s the cultivar was planted to excess, which resulted in a decrease in its popularity. Nowadays there is a need for younger specimens in built-up areas. Of the large willows, this is one of the hardiest and healthiest.

Silver willow can also be used for attractive avenues and hedges, which provide excellent wind-breaks. The best results are achieved by annually trimming most of the previous season’s growth on all branches. This also emphasises the silvery foliage on the current season’s growth.

 

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