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New growth coming out in the early spring
Hybrid “Austree” Willows are a deciduous fast growing shade or windbreak tree that can grow 6-10 ft per year, and after 7 years top out at 50-60 ft. They do not spread by suckers or seed like other willows. For rapid growth control competing vegetation and have adequate moisture.
One row planted 5 to 10 ft apart will give an effective windbreak, screen and snow catch in just a couple of years. Our favorite spacing in good soil is a double row spaced 8 ft apart in the row and 10 ft between rows. With our 8X10 spacing we show a 30% reduction in the wind during the winter with no leaves. They get leaves on in early April and hold them until the middle of Nov. here in Iowa, so offer a great windbreak during this time period. More rows with wider spacing would be even better. A 5-6 ft potted tree will usually be 10 ft tall by the fall of the first year it is in the ground. We sell and plant potted Austrees anytime the ground is not frozen (March-December).
There is a hog building behind these trees above and they are only 3 years in the ground and 25 ft tall.
At this time the long-term life of these plants are not known but we have seen some over 25 years old and they still look good. Planting evergreen trees on the inside of the Austrees will provide better windbreak protection in the winter and the evergreen trees will live longer. We have shown a 20% faster growth on evergreens planted inside of the Austrees in a windbreak. It appears that the Austrees with there leaves on in the early spring help, by keeping the strong spring winds off of the new growth, protecting the evergreens from wind damage.
We also like to plant an Austree 6 ft from the last evergreen in our windbreak rows and some in the middle of our newly planted windbreak. This provides a rubbing post for deer in the fall (Sep- Dec.) . The deer will first come into your windbreak and rub their antlers on th
e 8ft tall flexible trees and destroy them instead of your valuable evergreens. The below tree has had this happen. Each spring cut the Austrees off 1 ft above the ground so they will re-grow and provide another rubbing post in the fall for the deer; do this every year until the evergreens are 10 feet tall. After the evergreens are 10 feet tall you can cut the Austrees off at ground level in the fall and apply roundup to the stump to prevent them from growing back. No reason to remove the roots, they will rot in just a couple of years.
Another use for austrees, putting them 5ft from each tree in a row of evergreens. The deer will eat and rub on the austrees before going to the evergreens. You still need to keep deer numbers as low as possible the first 7 years – we use www.stopthedeerdamage.com Every year cut the austrees off 1 ft above the ground on March 15th and let them resprout during the summer, the austrees will usually be about 8-10 ft tall by fall ready for another fall and winter deer destruction season. Usually after about 5-7 years when the evergreen trees are about 12 ft tall you can cut off the austrees at ground level in the fall (Oct 15th – Dec. 15th) and put roundup on the stump and kill the austrees.
We sell two types of Austrees
The 15″ Cuttings are easy to plant 12″deep, slot or small hole, and when given good weed control and average rainfall, usually are about 4-6 ft tall by the end of the first year. If using them for a windbreak after the first year in the spring we suggest you cut them off 3 ft above the ground to get them to “bush” out and give a better windbreak with more branches and leaves down low, do this only once. Normal losses for first year 2-5%.
The Potted ones are easy to plant with an 8″ auger. Dig/drill hole 2 ft deep, remove pot, drop in hole and fill in dirt. Cut off 3 ft above ground if using for a windbreak. Normal losses for first year 0-2%.
Remove competing vegetation (we recommend chemicals) during the growing season within 3 ft of the stem, is the most important thing you can do to get your Austrees to grow fast. Do not get chemicals on stem of Austrees or plant within 30days of spraying an area, it can kill them. Watering is less important, in an average year, we rarely water any new Austrees unless there is a drought. Rabbits, mice and voles love the bark on the Austrees. For the first three years, it is very important to mow the area around the Austrees very short going into the fall and winter months to prevent this problem.
During the summer when the leaves start turning yellow, they need water. You have about two weeks to get them watered after the leaves start to turn before they start dying. If you start to water them too soon they will become very dependent on it and you will have to keep watering them all summer long.