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The Golden Curls Willow

Posted September 8th, 2017 by Mike McGroarty in

The Golden Curls Willow, Salix matsudana tortuosa also called Corkscrew Willow by some, is a fun and interesting tree with an elegant and graceful appearance.

Golden Curls Willow is an interesting plant because it was discovered by my late good friend and horticultural genius Charlie Beardslee. Charlie found this somewhat crazy looking plant with its contorted branches twisted like a pigs tail growing on the edge of his pond behind his nursery. He just left the tree right there on the edge of the pond, but he immediately started taking cuttings and propagating his new find. From those cuttings he took more cuttings and from those he took even more. In a relatively short period of time Charlie had produced over 100,000 of the Golden Curls Willow. Then he put the word out about his find and the plant buying world went crazy. Thousands of nurseries around the world are still reproducing this plant by the hundreds of thousands, maybe more, each year.

The Golden Curls Willow is a fast growing tree and unlike most trees it will tolerate wet ground. It does well in hardiness zones 4 through 8. The twisted branches are so interesting and they are often sold to floral shops to use in flower arrangements. If this tree has a negative side, like many willows, it drops a lot of dead branches when the wind kicks up. Most are of the branches are so small, I just run them over with my mower, a few I have to pick up. In the spring I usually have to rake up around the tree.

It is a vigorous grower, and because of its weeping effect it will weep all the way to the ground. Two or three times a year I go around mine, underneath and trim it up to as far as I can reach so it looks like a really large umbrella when I’m done.

Mike McGroarty is the owner of McGroarty Enterprises and the author of several books. You can visit his website at Freeplants.com and read his blog at Mikesbackyardnursery.com.

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