50 Natives : Utah : Salix exigua (Coyote Willow)

salix exigua coyote willow native plant utah western united states

by Carolannie

This small tree is on my list for planting early this spring.  I intend to use it as a back drop in beds and to help blur the edges.   I have edges in my garden — it seems like I go from flat and clear to stick straight 50 ft pines and their isn’t any natural forest edge.  The abruptness is jarring and I think I need to soften it all up by blending.

salix exigua coyote willow native plant utah western united states

by James’s GW Blog

Salix exigua is native to much of the western united states and I am quite familiar with it as a plant that colonizes and anchors stream banks.  But in the garden I’m going to use it to add texture and a lightweight (but hopefully quickly effective) backdrop . Salix exigua is an upright tree with slender greyish green branches clothed with long, narrow, finely toothed, silky silver leaves and small pale yellow catkins.

salix exigua coyote willow

image from wsu.edu

Willows are among my favorite trees, and this small variety will add not only the nice texture, but also the pretty bluish tinged leaves. Have you grown this tree?  I am curious, are the suckers a pain to manage?

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. Matti on February 2, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Great soft foliage. I bet it is easy to propagate too. The leaves almost have a Japanese Maple look to them (Acer palmatum).

  2. Andrew on February 2, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I haven’t grown it, but it’s going on my list now! Thanks for the heads up! I have shrubby Salix purpurea ‘Nana,’ but just planted it this fall. Sadly, tree-sized willows are tough to site on my 1/4 acre lot because much of it sits above a septic system. Could be good for clients, though.

  3. Erika on February 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    this plant grows like crazy on the sandbars and banks of the river across the street. It seems to keep itself fairly well contained within about 20 feet of the water line… don’t know about suckering; they do tend to fall over a bit, and therefore spread out from the ground up – but maybe that’s due to the weight of the snow.

  4. Jared Turner on April 28, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Beautiful tree, fairly difficult to maintain, but not overly hard.

  5. Garfield on June 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I wish we had this kind of willow in the landscaping here. I think they look so cool, but the climate is all wrong.

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