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Salix Alba Chermesina or Scarlet Willow The Salix Alba is the willow tree family. Salix Alba Chermesina which is synonymous Salix Alba Britzensis is commonly known as Scarlet Willow. This is a medium-sized deciduous willow which is remarkable particularly for its winter colour when the bare branches are brilliant orange scarlet especially if pruned every second year.
Salix Alba Britzensis has grey-green narrow-leaved foliage measuring approximately 10cms in length. This foliage appears in early spring alongside small yellow catkins that attract pollinators. New leaves tend to cover the new bright scarlet shoots that also appear in spring, but they can be spotted running through the centre of each leaf. Foliage remains in place throughout the hot months turning a deeper green as the summer progresses. Then, with the first frosts, it turns a buttery yellow shade and falls. Without the crisp green foliage it is easy to spot the outstanding feature of this willow – its fiery orange -scarlet shoots that brighten any winter landscape.
Height and Spread of Salix Alba Chermesina Salix Alba Britzensis is a mid-sized deciduous tree with a compact growth habit. Its bright red shoots quickly grow to a maximum of 12 metres in height and spread in its preferred conditions.
How Hardy Is Salix Alba Chermesina Salix Alba Chermesina is hardy throughout all of the UK and Europe, even in the most severe winters. It will thrive in wetter soils that other shrubs and trees struggle with, and is tolerant of exposed conditions.
How To Use Salix Alba Chermesina This willow enjoys damp soils such as around a pond, in a ground depression or in areas of temporary flooding. If you are looking for stunning winter colour then plant your Scarlet Willow where sun can reach its stems. Winter sun sets off a deep fiery red glow that’s hard to beat. Place it alongside other coloured willows like Salix Gracilistyla Mount Aso and dogwoods such as Cornus Sanguinea Midwinter Fire for a real winter statement. Scarlet Willow is loved by wildlife and it’s perfect in a wildlife garden. Bees pollinate its flowers in summer and birds shelter in the stems during winter.
When left untouched Salix Alba Chermesina will grow as a pyramidal tree, but you can maximise the scarlet shade by coppicing it into a multi stemmed shrub for any spot in the garden. Use the left over clipped stems in flower displays.
You can grow this scarlet shrub in a pot if it is well watered and fed throughout the summer. Pot grown specimens can be moved around to fill a bare space in the winter, as well as bringing structure on the patio where it creates a year-round windbreak.
How To Care For Salix Alba Chermesina Salix Alba Chermesina is a tolerant, good-natured plant that does well in most locations, and is not much affected by soil type or pH levels. If you want quick height and spread grow yours in a sunny but damp site with fertile soil. You can leave Scarlet Willow to grow without pruning or you can coppice it each year. Coppicing or simply cutting back old stems encourages new growth which is more vibrant than old wood. The best colour comes if you cut it back every two years.
If you choose to prune Salix Alba Britzensis, it will appreciate a good layer of mulch in spring to boost its nutrients and help grow back the most vibrantly coloured stems. If you have a difficult damp area or need some winter colour and structure Scarlet Willow is a great low maintenance choice. It manages in most locations without help and provides you with stunning winter colour.