How Do You Feel About Weeping Willow Bonsai?

Isilwen

Mame
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Was looking through bonsai trees at Etsy and came across weeping willow tree cuttings. Pretty thick trunks. Checked the growing area and my area is listed.

Do they make good bonsai trees?
 

Forsoothe!

Imperial Masterpiece
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Since you won't be subject to winter-kill of tiny branches, you are among the chosen few. They grow fast and you need to guide downward early in the life of a twig in order to keep the arches low enough to be aesthetically acceptable because they "weep" due to the weight of the twigs, that weight being a function of length, not because they grow downward. Outside of that, which is do-able, they need to be trimmed lots, and lots and often and lots. But you'll have a tree you can fool around with sort of constantly and we do this because we like to do, not just look at. Go for it.
 

Gene Deci

Shohin
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I would just add to what Forsoothe said that they root very easily and quickly from almost any size cutting and they bud back prolifically. Find an interesting branch, trim it heavily and put it in a bucket of water for a month or two. You can save time and money.
 

Cioffi

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I think they make for great bonsai. Granted, I'm very new to this hobby - started last summer. As of a month ago, I have several cuttings in a bucket of water, some as thin as a straw and some as thick as your wrist. They're growing roots, and I'm hoping to pot them later this summer. I love the look of weeping willow bonsai, and given the tree's ability to grow like a weed, it makes a great tree on which to learn. Over the past two months, I've been collecting as many trees as possible on which to learn, not worrying whether they die, and weeping willow is one of them. As Forsoothe says, "go for it."
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Nope. They’re very frustrating as bonsai because they shed branches, and never really weep on their own. I remember a pro telling a story while conducting a workshop (maybe Colin Lewis or Guy Guidry?) that he had awarded a willow as best in show once, early in his career. It was beautiful, had rough bark and weeping branches that were very convincing...best he’d ever seen. He recalled coming back to the show the next day and all the branches had sprung straight up and looked like Don King’s hair. He was confused, until the owner admitted he had just cut loose all the guy-wires minutes before walking into the show with his willow to be judged. Then he was embarrassed.

I grew a willow for several years and it was always disappointing...just when you think you’re getting somewhere, half the branches die, and everything new bolts straight up. I either killed it or sold it for the price of shipping it out of my garden.
 

Cioffi

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Good information. My comment about weeping willow being "good bonsai" refers to aesthetics and they're ability to grow and grow - not experience. I'll learn soon enough. I love the look of a good bonsai specimen. Yet, your experience speaks volumes. Again, good information.
 
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