Decoration of a summer cottage goat willow
Goat willow, otherwise botanists call it Bredina (Selix carrea), and in the common people simply Rakita, a plant belonging to the Willow family. Europe is considered its homeland, but it grows successfully in Western Asia, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The average life expectancy is 150 years. During this time, the plant height can reach 10 m and 0.75 m in trunk diameter.
Many gardeners are wondering, is goat willow a tree or a shrub? Everyone calls it differently, but in the general classification it is a deciduous tree, sometimes a treelike shrub. Based on the name, we can conclude that sheep and goats like to feast on the plant.
The plant loves light, however, it has shade-tolerant qualities. Favorite growing areas: fertile, rich, sandy or gravelly soils. At the same time, they should not be highly moistened – this can destroy the tree. As a conclusion – watering should be moderate. There is a bush along roads, houses, on the burrows of the forest, clearings. For planting, formed seedlings are used. If you need to propagate, then cuttings, seeds, or a method of grafting are suitable for this..
The characteristic features of the plant are:
- Branches. They are thick and spreading. In young individuals, they have a slightly grayish color and slight pubescence. In specimens that are grown up and well developed, the color of the branches can be greenish-gray or yellow-brown. If the tree is old, then its branches acquire a gray color, and besides, they become brittle..
- Bark. At first, it is green-gray in color and rather smooth. As it grows older, the color changes to brown, and cracks form at the bottom of the trunk. As for wood, it is smooth, but when it comes into contact with air, it turns red.
- Foliage. It has an elliptical shape with a length / width of 11-18 / 5-8 cm, respectively. The outside is dark green and the underside is grayish. A distinctive feature is a jagged uneven edge. Buds are hidden in the axils of the leaves. They are quite large (length-width 5/3 cm, respectively). Flower buds are reddish in color and ovoid, not flattened, measuring 15 / 3-6 mm in length / width.
- Flowers, in the form of earrings. Goat willow bloom begins in April, before the foliage has begun to grow, and lasts 10-13 days. There are female and male flowers. The first are wide, oblong-oval in shape, up to 6 cm long.The second are dense, cylindrical in shape, reach 10 cm in length, multi-flowered.
- Fetus. As a result of pollination in May, a fruit is formed in the form of a box with a diameter of about 7-8 cm, located on a fluffy petiole. Each fruit contains about 18 seeds with fluffy outgrowths, thanks to which the seeds are transferred over a distance. Unfortunately, the seeds lose their germination very quickly..
Beauty and form
Goat willow in landscape design (photo can be seen below) is very common. And all thanks to its beauty and shape. Moreover, the appearance of the plant is highly dependent on the soil in which it grows and the illumination.
Most often, rakita is planted in the improvement of private houses and estates. At first glance, the willow looks unsightly, but thanks to its weeping forms, grafted onto the stem, it acquires a very attractive appearance..
Willow looks great in rocky gardens, as well as on the edge of water bodies. It is worth appreciating another advantage of the plant – the ability to cement the soil with roots, so it is not surprising that it is often planted on slopes.
Most often, gardeners pay attention to willow varieties such as “Silberglanz”, which has a height of up to 8 m and a spreading crown, “Pendula”, the main advantage of which is a weeping crown and a standard shape, and “Mas”, which has a wide spreading crown and reaches a height of up to 10 m.
Goat willow Pendula
This is a deciduous tree, reaching a height and length of up to 2-3 m. As a rule, it lives no more than 30 years on soils of any moisture. A kind of shade-tolerant and photophilous. For normal growth, abundant watering is necessary. But in order to avoid overflow, a rather high drainage layer should be laid. The plant is frost-resistant, but it is recommended to cover the stem for the winter..
The dignity of the plant, we repeat, is a tent-shaped weeping crown. Goat willow looks great on a trunk. Of the many varieties, pendula can be identified by dark green oblong-elliptical foliage up to 8-10 cm long.In autumn, the color turns yellow.
In April-May, flowering begins (lasting 15 days) with the release of flat golden-yellow earrings. In the future, the fruit is formed in the form of a box.
In landscape design, pendula is planted both as a single tree and in decorative groups. Looks great in rock gardens and near water bodies. It goes well with dwarf coniferous trees, juveniles, moisture-loving plants and ground covers. As for reproduction, then the procedure is performed by inoculation on the stem.
The most difficult thing to care for is pruning the Pendula goat willow. If the crown is not formed correctly during the first year, the branches will settle to the ground and the decorative value will be lost..
In young animals, all branches are pruned, leaving a length of only 15 cm. In this case, a bud should remain, looking to the side or up. But not inside the crown. With such a haircut, they achieve the formation of a shape similar to an open umbrella..
If the plant is adult, then pruning is carried out after flowering, shortening the branches by 2/3 of the entire length. This achieves dense branching of the crown..
Goat willow Kilmarnock
This variety is distinguished by its diminutiveness (maximum 1.5 m in height). The standard tree resembles an open umbrella with branches reaching the ground. The plant is frost and wind resistant, photophilous. It has no soil requirements, grows well on low-lime, loamy soils. The only drawback is sensitivity to moisture, so you need to be careful with watering.
You can identify the variety by foliage. It is green, oblong-elliptical, slightly wrinkled, yellowing in autumn.
In April, bloom begins with the release of numerous earrings with silvery and fragrant flowers..
Goat willow: planting and care
Planting is carried out with the onset of spring. Cuttings are placed in water in advance and wait for the roots to appear. After they should be transplanted into open ground, having previously dug a shallow hole. The extracted soil is mixed with compost, and after planting, the cuttings are poured into a hole and the soil is slightly crushed. After that, you should water the plant well with water. Subsequently, watering is performed 2-3 times / week. For adult specimens, regular watering is not required. If dry and hot weather is observed in summer, the seedlings should be watered more often..
As for feeding, in the spring-autumn period it is carried out twice with complex means. In autumn, give preference to sulfuric potassium or superphosphate. In the presence of a large number of weeds around the tree, mulching is carried out with sawdust, peat, expanded clay, paper, crushed pebbles.
In the case of rapid drying of the earth near the goat willow, loosening should be carried out, and if cracks have begun, then first the ground is watered and then loosened.
Do not forget about timely and regular cutting of trees..
Proper planting, watering control, and willow pruning will help you form a beautiful plant that will bring grace to your home’s landscaping..