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Everything‌ ‌You‌ ‌Need‌ ‌to‌ ‌Know‌ ‌About‌ ‌Tri-Color‌ Dappled‌ ‌Willow‌ ‌Trees

Tri-color dappled willow trees are stunning, with gracefully arched branches and new growth that shifts from a lustrous pale pink to whitish-green.

Author Image Written by Brenda Woods Updated 02/17/2024

Willow trees have long been popular for their gracefully draped branches and elegant leaves that tremble and flutter in the breeze. Tri-color dappled willows take this effect to the next level, with a stunning color-changing show, shifting from pale pink to whitish-green leaves. Even their stems show visual interest, turning bright coral red in winter. These dappled willows can either shine as specimen trees or serve as a living privacy screen that can spring up in a matter of seasons.

Tri-Color Dappled Willow Trees at a Glance

Shift from pink to whitish-green
Reveal red stems in the winter
Grow to full privacy screen in just a few seasons
Large root systems can cause issues for sewer lines and patios


Dappled willow trees have branches that arch delicately, set off with oblong, narrow variegated leaves. Their colors change with the seasons. The leaves are pink-tinged in the spring and give way to whitish-green growth in summer, creating an elegant dappled appearance. Colors are brightest when the trees are planted in direct sunlight. Pruning encourages new growth with more vivid color.

In the fall, the leaves turn yellow and drop, revealing coral-red stems by winter. Dappled willows grow at a fast rate of 2-3 feet per year, achieving their maximum growth of 8-10 feet in just a few seasons. Their maximum width is also 8-10 feet, giving them a nice rounded shape that works extremely well as a privacy hedge when planted in a row.



Arching branches, variegated leaves that are pink in the spring and whitish-green in the summer. Stems are coral red in the winter.


8-10 feet tall

Hardiness Zones

Zones 4-9

Type of tree

Deciduous shrub

Sunlight requirements

Full sun to partial shade

Soil composition

Highly adaptable but prefers moist, well-drained, slightly acidic to alkaline soil

Hardiness Zones

USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the regions where different plants are suited for their ideal growth. Tri-color dappled willow trees do best in Zones 4-9, excellent for gardens in the Midwest and North. You do not need to take any action to winterize your dappled willow tree.


Plant your dappled willow tree in mid-to-late fall or early spring, when the air temperature is cool but the soil is warm. Start by finding a location with full sun to partial shade—both will work, but full sun will yield more vibrant colors—and moist, well-draining soil. Dig a hole that’s twice the size of your tree’s root ball and one inch shallower than the root ball’s height. Place the dappled willow in the hole and backfill the hole with soil. Place a three-inch layer of mulch around the tree in roughly a 2-3 foot radius.

Tri-color dappled willow trees are known for being low maintenance, highly adaptable to a wide range of soils and able to grow in a range of full sunlight to partial shade. However, they must be kept moist in order to thrive.

Sun and shade

Dappled willow trees prefer full sunlight, or at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. However, they can also grow in partial shade.


Dappled willow trees are not finicky when it comes to soil. They thrive in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic to alkaline soils, but they can tolerate poor soil. Sandy soil and clay soil are less than ideal and will produce less robust growth and paler colors.


Dappled willow trees have high requirements for moisture. When they’re young, you’ll want to water them deeply twice a week. You should feel moisture in the soil at least two inches down. As the tree ages, you can water it less frequently, giving it one inch of water once every week.


The best time to apply fertilizer is early in spring, before there is any new growth. Fertilization will help boost growth and the vibrancy of the foliage.


Pruning is not necessary, but dappled willows do respond well to it. Pruning can make the colors bolder, since it encourages new growth. You can cut up to ⅓ of its branches at a time without having a negative impact on the root system. Be sure to prune your tree in late winter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are they evergreen?

Tri-color dappled willow trees are deciduous, not evergreen.

How much sun do they need?

These trees thrive in full sunlight, receiving at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. However, they can tolerate partial shade.

Do they have invasive roots?

Dappled willow trees are said to have invasive roots which can damage septic systems and patios.

Are they poisonous to dogs?

No, dappled willow trees are not toxic to dogs.

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