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Gardeners Question Time
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Posts: 13
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #1
08-07-2008 08:40 PM

I've been thinking long and hard about what sort of smallish tree I can plant in my smallish back garden that won't cause a problem for the house in 10 years or so. Meanwhile I notice, in a twitchy sort of way, that my neighbour appears to have planted a WILLOW tree next to her new pond, which is about 20 ft from my house. Advice please! I love trees but know that willows are just about the worst thing to plant in a back garden but don't want to fall out with neighbour...

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Posts: 335
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #2
08-07-2008 08:55 PM

What kind of willow? Why should it be so bad?

There are many types, most of which remain very small. We have a willow - Kilmarnock, that only grows to a maximum of 2m but is usually smaller)

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Posts: 531
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #3
09-07-2008 10:20 PM

I was researching much the same recently and initially thought of willow but when I looked into it the only willow that stays small is the Kilmarnock. I also read that your shouldn't plant any other willow that close to a house/boundary with someone else property. Cant remember the exact details though.

In the end I decided against a new tree but was narrowing it down to a type or prunus or rowan.

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Posts: 73
Joined: May 2008
Post: #4
10-07-2008 06:07 AM

It depends on what you like. Our flat garden has a fence alongside a little culvert with a large mature willow tree right the other side of it. I think it is absolutely lovely having the willow stems descend into the garden and so do most neighbours but there is someone who thinks it looks messy! We've never had any particular problems in terms of its roots - it is right by a large shed - or it obscuring light, though over a longish time roots could be a problem if right close enough/ on a clay soil (assume you are) - there are a lot of variables regarding that; 20 foot shouldn't be a problem I'd say.

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Posts: 133
Joined: May 2007
Post: #5
10-07-2008 10:52 AM

Yes, general advice would be not to plant a weeping willow (salix) close to a house, especially if you have a clay soil. I have been told that the roots can grow to be three times the height of the tree.

But I have also heard of the dwarf variety and hopefully this is what your neighbour has planted.

However, I too have a mature weeping willow in my back garden which I estimate to be around 40 years old. It is about 25ft from my house but I'm fairly comfortable with it because I'm on a sandstone soil. I have it regularly pruned so that it doesn't get too large and keep the surrounding ground wet during periods of drought.

When I purchased my property I originally considered felling it but am really pleased I didn't because it provides wonderful shade to sit under and is a delight to see and listen to in a summer breeze.

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Posts: 294
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #6
14-07-2008 09:49 AM

We went for a Rowan (Mountain Ash) - it grows tall and thin - not too tall mind you. It's currently covered in bright red berries and looks great.

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Posts: 27
Joined: Nov 2005
Post: #7
03-09-2008 05:56 PM

I had to have my garage completely rebuilt because of a tree growing next to it (in my neighbour's garden). It wasn't enormous but it seems it was a type of willow tree, and they are renowned for extracting huge amounts of moisture from the soil. The tree couldn't have been that old because when I moved to the property ten years earlier it only appeared to be a shrub. Be warned!

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Posts: 61
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #8
08-09-2008 08:33 PM

An Amelanchier is an option, it has white flowers in the spring and red foliage in the autumn, or perhaps the flagpole cherry (Prunus Amanogawa).

Alternatively you might want to think about a shrub as some of these can grow up to 15 feet. A Philadelphus or Hoheria might suit.

A final suggestion is a fruit tree - by selecting the type of root stock that has been used you can limit the size of the tree.

As for the willow you might find the discussion on this forum of interest:

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