At Native Forest Nursery we grow bare root seedlings and #3 container trees. Our container trees are grown in a #3 air pruned pot. This root making container eliminates nearly all potential for root wrapping. This allows for an excellent root structure and delivers an extremely healthy tree. The bare root seedlings at our nursery are grown in a sandy loam soil with high organic matter content, which provides an extremely healthy environment for our seedlings. Our bare root liners and seedlings are hand lifted, packaged, and kept in cold storage until you are ready to plant. Conservation uses for our products include reclamation, mitigation, reforestation, restoration, wildlife habitat improvement and wetland uses. Horticultural uses for our products include field liners, container liners, landscape plantings, budding stock, grafting stock and ornamental uses.

Family: Salicaceae
Latin Name: Salix nigra
Foliage: Dark green
Fall Foliage: Greenish-yellow
Bloom: Yellow-green
Bloom Time: March to April
Shape: Rounded to irregular
Bark: Dark brown to black and coarsely furrowed
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Zone: Zone 4 to Zone 9
Size: 30 to 60 feet
Spread: 30 to 60 feet
Care: Medium, well drained soil

Salix Nigra—the Black Willow—reigns as the largest and mightiest North American species of willow. Its domain extends from New Brunswick to Minnesota and stretches southward to Florida and Texas. Belonging to the Salicaceae family, this deciduous specimen goes by a plethora of epithets nearly as numerous as its branches: “American Willow”, “Brittle Willow”, “Crack Willow”, “Gulf Black Willow”, “Southwestern Black”, “Scythe Leaf Willow”, “Swamp Willow”, “Texas Black Willow”, “Swamp Walnut”, “Sauce Willow”, and “Willow Catkins”… just to name a few.

With a 4-9 hardiness zone rating, the Black Willow thrives in wetlands, is commonly found along stream banks, next to lakes and farm ponds, and swamps and pasture sloughs. It favors medium, well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade. A mature specimen can rear up to 30-60 ft., with its graceful drooping branches arching out to encompass a respective 30-60 ft. spread. The current national champion can be found in New Jersey, 152 years old and 76 ft. tall.

The Black Willow’s canopy varies in shape from rounded to irregular, typically supported by a multiple trunks layered in coarsely furrowed, dark brown-black bark. Its leaves are narrow, lance-shaped, alternate, simple, and dark green. From March to April, yellow-green catkins appear along the ends of the Black Willow’s leafy shoots. In the autumn, its foliage turns a lemony-green hue while the tree sheds a plentiful production of small, downy, reddish-brown seeds.

Though its wood is soft and relatively frail—so soft, in fact, that it was once used to fashion artificial limbs—this species’ shallow roots still function as a quality soil binder and provide optimal erosion control. The Black Willow’s therapeutic values have been cherished since the days of the Ancient Greeks, who made rheumatics-soothing teas from willow bark. Chemists in the 1840s discovered fever-reducing and pain-killing elements in the salicylic acid (a synthesis in modern-day Aspirin) produced by the Black Willow. This tree also provides nourishment to a variety of wildlife; white-tailed deer love its seeds, beavers and muskrats prefer the twigs and bark, and bees and butterflies flock to drink the tree’s nectar. The Black Willow’s branches and cavities also provide a habitat for various birds and mammals.

Native Forest Nursery Photos:

Mature Tree Photos: