A willow weeps for water

Credit: Alex Brown

Q: My beautiful purple weeping willow, which I’ve had for close to 10 years, suddenly appears to be dying. Within one week, the leaves changed to yellow and then to brown. It has been very dry lately, so I’m wondering if this is due to a lack of water. I can’t see any noticeable bugs or fungus.

My husband sprayed some weed killer approximately 6 feet away. Could it possibly be chemical damage?

Your ‘Weeping Arctic Blue Willow’ (Salix purpurea ‘Pendula’) sounds as if it is experiencing water stress (a lack of water). You should provide it with a deep, thorough watering during dry stretches. Additionally, a thick layer of mulch is also recommended. Use a coarse material and spread it approximately 10- to-15-cm (4- to 6-in.) deep.