A weeping willow with plenty to weep about

Mike the Mad Biologist shows us what happens when a large willow by the Public Garden Lagoon loses a large branch - fortunately, with nobody under it at the time.

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Time is up

Weeping willows have a life span of 50-60 years, then they rot from the inside and begin to split and lose major branches. We had two majestic ones in our front yard, planted in the mid 1950s and they each toppled over within two years of each other a few years ago.

Based on BPL photos posted to

Based on BPL photos posted to Flickr, I think the largest of the willows along the lagoon is from the '30s (visible in a picture of childhood Shirley Temple visiting the BPG). I think that tree is still standing. The several others, though, aren't seen in photos until the '50s, at which point they're fully grown. So the oldest (if it's the same tree) is in its eighties and the largest of the rest may be in its sixties. In the last three years the BPG has lost three of the largest willows at the south end of the lagoon and all three were rotted out completely from the inside, as you said happens.