We continually change things, even the trees and sizes we offer. Our standard or Regular-size tree is about 20-26 inches tall, a nice young tree, but checked and trimmed back before packaging and shipping them. These will typically arrive looking like "sticks", but quickly they resprout new leaves and then grow normally. Even when fresh out of cold storage, they will look more like sticks than trees. Dont worry though... Fresh, or dormant, they typically green up when your weather warms up in the Spring and Summer. The time that takes depends on your weather and conditions. Now if we trim them back, they will also green up when they are ready. Sometimes it takes a couple weeks, sometimes much longer. Trimming them is how we can ship them all season long. Its the best way procedure, and works very well.
Over the years, some people rather start with larger trees than the standard size, so we introduced the "Talls". The Ameri-Willow - Talls (Item Code: FGT-AW-03), is very popular, and often sells out fast. These are older trees, bigger, larger stems and better root development, a more hefty size. Either size works well, so if you have a preference for taller, then go with the "Talls". Both sizes are trimmed back, well-packaged, and easy to ship.
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The Ameri-Willow is an American tree. It is a hybrid of other fast-growing tree-form willows. Compared to other fast-growing trees, even other hybrid willows, the Ameri-Willow grows up to 8 feet a year (may vary depending on the growing conditions). We have had growth up to 15 feet in one year at the nursery, but granted that is under Good growing conditions. What this tree (or any other) will grow in your area will vary, no way to know beforehand. Be cautious of the claims a company may say about their trees, particularly the growth rates. Everybody wants fast-growth... that's fine, but do understand that fast-growth is more than just a super-tree, growth-rate is also related to soil conditions, sunlight, your climate, watering and fertilizing, competition from other trees and plants, and the interactions these factors have on the tree. Even the "best" tree will grow poorly or slowly in poorer conditions. A "good" tree planted in reasonably good conditions, will produce reasonably "good" results. This is a truism for All trees and plants, even our Ameri-Willow!
How to grow the Ameri-Willow: Simply stated, these trees grow best in moist fertile soils with full sun. Most soils can be alright, but plenty of water and some added fertilizer will improve their growth and survival. Planting instructions are included with each order, or can be read on the Nursery webpage. Basically, plant the trees a little bit deeper than you normally plant (which will promote additional rooting). Just dig the hole a litle deepr and wider than the root system, and spread the roots out as best you can before re-filling the hole with soil. For normal soils, that is it! For very rocky, clayey, or sandy soils, you might mix in some organic materials such as compost to improve the water and air flow in the soil.
What will these trees do?
1) Extremely fast growth - 8' to 15' in the first year. Growth rates will vary due to site conditions, climate, planting time, and other factors. Nationwide first-year average seems to be about eight feet, but past customers have reported first-year growth from three to six feet, and others have stated over ten feet. The first five years are the fastest growing years, then the trees tend to slow down and branch out until mature. You can expect your trees to slow down in growth after the first five years, but they should be anywhere from 30 to 50 feet tall. They will live up to 70 years or more, and grow from 50 up to 90 feet tall. They generally grow about 10-15 feet wide. Height, width, and growth rates are highly variable, so this is general information.
2) Fast Privacy - As a privacy screen, the fast growth will be tall and dense, making a solid wall of greenery within a few years. They will naturally branch out and fill in, so you don't need to trim. Planted in a line about six feet apart, the growing limbs will intermingle. The total width of the tree will be about ten to twelve feet wide, but allowed to grow in the open by itself, it may become wider. The Ameri-Willow will drop its leaves in the fall like most other broadleaf trees, so year-round screening, consider planting a row of evergreens closeby. The two rows will eventually become a year-year solid wall.
3) The Ameri-Willow is very hardy and disease resistant - Ameri-Willow is planted from Mexico to British Columbia, and is very tolerant to extremes in climate changes. They will take the high humidity and heat of the south, and survive the winters of Zone 4. They grow best from Zones 5 to 9, and can do well in Zones 4 and 10 as well. There are very few disease pathogens that effect Ameri-Willow, although like many trees, aphids or other minor insects can become a problem.
4) Long Life - These trees will live up to 70 years or more.
5) Excellent for windbreaks and shelter belts - Effective wind and dust barriers in the first year. The thicker the wind barrier, the more effective it will become against the wind. Plant several rows, including a row of evergreens, and tall shrubs or other broadleafs.
6) Great for erosion protection - As they grow very fast, the Ameri-Willow stabilizes the soil against wind and water erosion. The root system will spread out which holds the soil in place. Do add a surface mulch like straw or other materials to reduce rain and moving-water effects.
7) Living snow fence - planted as a fence in areas of blowing snow, the Ameri-Willow will trap and hold the snow. Although the stems will be barren during the winter months, they will act as a snow fence helping to trap drifting snow.
8) Easy and hardy to grow - Once they are planted, the Ameri-Willow requires very little care. Just keep them watered during the dry periods, and add fertilizer a couple times during the season.
How many other uses can you find for this truly amazing tree? The Ameri-Willow works great for wildlife habitat, noise barriers, firewood production, hedges, in landscaping plans, and even for shade.
Is the Ameri-Willow the perfect tree? No, we can't say that. Although a great tree, a good tree for many uses, there are some drawbacks we should mention. Fast growing trees tend to have soft or weak wood. Although the willows can break in strong gusty winds, they tend to bend. Willow wood is very elastic, used by the native peoples for bows, and you have probably heard the cliche` "bends like a willow".
The advantage with this pioneer species tree, is the rapid growth. Although the Ameri-Willow is a hybrid, they may at some point produce seeds. This hybrid is not known as a root-sprouter, but there may be a time where they might. Aphids and other insects may become a problem, but every tree has something that can effect it at some time. Deer, horses, and other animals may browse the leaves. The Ameri-Willow is not the catch-all perfect tree, but it is the best for fast-growth.
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Last Update: 08/22/2012
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