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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Saw this Saturday

Hubby & I treated ourselves to a Swan Boat ride on Saturday after an outing with friends for dim sum, and we saw the downed branch. It's huge! But then so is the rest of that particular willow.

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

By on

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.

and gone...

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The entire tree gone this evening.


Silver lining

Willow is technically hardwood and can be burned in a fireplace or wood stove without generating much creosote. The only drawback is that it contains fewer BTUs per mass than other hardwoods like oak.