Common Name: coral bark willow
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 15.00 to 80.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 50.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellowish-white to brown
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree, Rain Garden
Leaf: Good Fall
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Erosion, Clay Soil, Wet Soil, Black Walnut
Grow in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist soils in full sun.
'Britzensis' is an all-male white willow cultivar which is most noted for the fact that its new growth stems turn red to orange-red in winter. In order to maximize this red stem effect, this plant is often grown as a multi-stemmed shrub with the branches being cut back heavily each year in late winter to about 1' from the ground before new growth appears. Plants are fast growing and can usually produce 6-8' of new growth in one growing season. Sometimes also grown as a tree and pollarded (branches are annually cut close to the trunk in late winter to promote dense growth of new stems) as a way of promoting best red stem growth and showcasing the same. If not pruned severely, 'Britzensis' can eventually mature into a large shrub or medium size tree. Very narrow, lance-shaped, finely-toothed leaves (to 4" long) are light green above and silver green below, turning variable shades of yellow (usually attractive) in autumn.
Susceptible to numerous foliar diseases, blights and cankers and many insect pests including aphids, scale and borers.
Grown mainly for its red stems in winter, its attractive foliage and for its ability to prosper in wet soil conditions. As a multi-stemmed shrub, it can be effectively massed or grouped in shrub borders or foundations. Also can make an effective screen. Mix with Salix alba var. vitellina for red and yellow stem contrast. As a tree, it may be pollarded to showcase the new-growth red stems. As an unpruned tree, it can be quite effective in informal naturalistic settings. Regardless of habit, it is a good selection for moist soils along streams, ponds or in low spots where other shrubs or small trees may falter.