Will A Willow Tree Grow Back From A Stump?

Tree stumps contain a lot of nutrients that can help in plant regeneration. Willow is one of those trees. If you're wondering if it is a good idea to leave that stump in hopes that your favorite willow tree will grow back. We referenced several arborists and here is what we learned.

Yes, regrowth is very common in willows and a new willow tree will most probably grow out of its stump. This is because the willow tree has survival traits and an amazing tenacity to live.

Although this might take years of patience and hard work. All you need to do is just trim the multiple branches which will grow out regularly as it sprouts and in 5 - 10 years you should have your willow tree standing in front of you.

Apart from the amazing regrowth in willows, there are other things you should know about your willow tree and how to take care of them properly. Hang on and keep reading as we discuss this more in-depth.

Weeping willow tree on river bank in summer, Will A Willow Tree Grow Back From A Stump?

Willow Trees [Description and Features]

Willows whose genus is Salix, meaning sallows or osier, majorly grow in temperate regions such as the Eurasian areas and North America. They thrive in areas with moist soil and sunny weather. It is a large tree growing about 30 - 85 feet tall with long droopy branches.

Their leaves are oval and pointed and have watery sap bark which contains high levels of salicylic acid often used in pain relievers.

Weeping willow tree on the banks of the river


When willows are mentioned, what comes to mind are trees with falling branches found along the waterside. This idea is correct, but that is only one of the many species of willows. There are over 400 species of willow and almost all love the moist soil and sunny weather.

Willows are drought resistant and can survive several days without water because of the amount of water they collect from the soil around them.

There are various species of willows some of which include:

  • Weeping willow (Salix babylonica) which is native to Asia
  • Pussy willow (Salix discolor) native to North America
  • Arctic willow (Salix arctica) native to North America
  • Black willow (Salix nigra) is native to  North America. 
  • White or Gold willow (Salix alba) is native to  Europe.

The weeping willows are primarily found in China. Weeping willows are water-loving plants and do remarkably well in wet and boggy soil conditions; some of such areas are river banks and creeks. Willows are fast-growing trees, growing an average of about 10 feet a year.

What Do Stump Sprouts Mean?

Moss-covered tree stump and rocks in a beech forest

Regardless of how these trees became stumps, some trees after getting cut will grow sprouts that can become limbs. Then, with proper care and training can again become a tree again.

Stump sprouts are new stems, or leaves growing around a stump and trying to produce a new tree. Trees don't just die and lose all their nutrients immediately as they are cut down. The nutrients in the roots are used to produce these sprouts in order to perform photosynthesis.

Remember that not all trees have the ability to produce stump sprouts and only trees whose species are deciduous, produce. If you are considering leaving that stump to sprout, take a minute to research if the tree is deciduous or not.

Will a Willow Tree Grow Back From a Stump?

The answer is yes. The willow tree is a deciduous species and also has strong survival will. A willow tree will grow from almost any part which was planted ranging from the branch to a stump that has a root already.

All you need to do is just have a little patience and watch your willow tree come to life again from the stump. Always remember to trim the sprouts (i.e. branches) and select the best-looking sprout for regeneration.

Will a Weeping Willow Grow From a Branch?

Willows trees are one of the easiest trees to propagate because of the hormones in willows, which cause rapid growth. Willow trees could be grown by simply sticking a branch in water and waiting for root structures to form. 

After root structure is formed, make sure to plant branches in areas around the river bank or where there is a high amount of water. Only about 2 inches should be above the ground level. Remember to keep at least 50 feet away from houses and other building structures to avoid damage.

What is The Lifespan of a Willow Tree?

Weeping willow tree on river bank in summer

Willows have a relatively short life span with an average of 30 years, although with proper care and hard work they could live to about 50 years. Although they live about 30 years on average, they begin to decline around 20 years of age due to environmental factors.

The longevity of willows is relatively short because the branches are weak, brittle, and tend to break during cold weather (i.e., snow). Willows are often also affected by pests and insects because the areas they grow are breeding zones for pests.

Once you start noticing bored insect holes rotting at the tree bottom, you should know that your willow tree has started to decline.

Removing damaged and broken branches, and pruning the willow tree regularly are ways to increase the lifespan of the tree. This is because pruning the tree helps to create a stronger trunk, which won't simply break for any reason. Fumigation also helps in chasing bugs away.

Can You Cut The Top Off a Willow Tree?

Yes, you can cut the top off of a willow tree. Trimming and pruning are the best methods for cutting off the top branches of the willow tree as it helps to give your tree a nice shape and not the bushy look.

Remember that doing this regularly also helps to maintain the health of the tree. If you have a willow tree or are planning to plant one, it is very important to make sure it is in a good condition and looking its best.

Do Willow Trees Have Deep Roots?

Willow trees do not have deep roots, instead, their roots are shallow but spread like mats across the entire canopy of the tree. The root of a weeping willow can spread over 100 feet from the trunk. The roots are usually very close to the soil surface and create bumps when mowing.

It is vital to note that willows have very aggressive roots and should not grow in residential areas. The root of willows looks for water in every direction and due to the fact that they are very water desperate, they would break pipes and every other material in their way while trying to find water in the soil.

Never plant a willow near a pipe, sewerage tank, gas, or electric lines. If you ever want to plant in a residential area, make sure it is at least 50 feet away from the house or near strategic areas.

What Kills a Willow Tree?

Although the willow tree has an amazing survival trait, various factors can lead to the death of a willow tree. They include the following:

1. Willows love it wet and like areas around water bodies, but when water is too much, trees can rot and die in the process.

2. Pruning willow trees during spring can attract bugs to the tree, these bugs usually cause fungi spores and bacteria. This also causes a decline in the life span of willow trees.

3. Willow trees can be killed using herbicides that contain triclopyr, picloram, and 2,4-D. This should be sprayed on the lower side of trees during spring. Rubbing glyphosate on the stumps prevents stump sprouts.

To ensure the longevity of your willow, do not add so much water to the plant. Allow rainfall and do proper irrigation.

What is The Best Time of The Year to Prune a Willow Tree?

Pruning the willow branch growing at the drainage ditch

The willow tree often grows in the spring season and during this time it is not advisable to prune your willow because it bleeds large amounts of sap when pruned. Sap secreted by the tree often attracts bugs, which cause bacteria in willows.

The willow tree is best pruned during winter. It is because during this season the tree is usually dormant. This helps willows maintain a good condition before spring begins and growth starts again.

Removal of weak branches and dead parts can be done any time of the year, and branch trimmings can be done anytime also but are mostly needed during the late spring and winter season.

Always remember to never prune your willows during active growth during winter; all prunings should be left until the end of spring or during winter.

To Sum Up

Willows are a very diverse set of trees and have high regenerative abilities. So, you should consider leaving the stump to grow into a new willow. Remember to always trim the tree in order for it to grow properly.