Salix interior

interior = inner

perhaps referring to its location away from the coast?

Sandbar Willow

This native willow species has beautiful long slender, gray leaves and is very ornamental; however, it is risky to plant in an ornamental garden as it spreads widely by underground stems, but for erosion prevention of river/stream/lake banks it is really great. You can grow it in a garden by sticking the cuttings in the center of 10ft x 10ft, 6mil black plastic covered with a thin layer of mulch such as bark chips to hide the plastic. If you remove all the side shoots it makes a single trunk and grow to 15ft, making a very handsome silver tree. It grows naturally in sandbars as its name suggests, but will grow in almost any soil with often aggravating effects—about as bad as Japanese Knotweed! It also has another virtue: if coppiced it produces wonderfully slender rods for basket making. There's a ditch by a main road near our home that the Highway Department mows regularly keeping it in check, but if they mow early in summer, by autumn the abundant slender rods are amazing. I don't have this native wild on my property; but in the nursery, 6mil black polyethylene prevents them from spreading! Hardy to Zone 3.

USES: erosion control, phytoremediation—willows will absorb nasty chemicals and heavy metals provided by such Earth-killing folks as Dow, Monsanto, duPont, Exxon, Chevron, Shell, Koch Industries etc.! Sandbar Willow is also superb for basketmaking.



nigra >

S. interior on a sand-bar in Lake Champlain VT this area was underwater during spring floods of 2012 and 2015.

The Sandbar Willows are the tall shrubs at the left end and behind a seedling of Salix nigra

Distribution of Salix interior in the US

Map used by permission of Dr John Kartesz & BONAP



Present in County

Present in State

Present but rare

Above are male catkins bright golden yellow with pollen sca about to pop open.

Found these growing wild on a neighbours property.

left: Those are female catkins on recently-planted cuttings.

I'll have to make sure they never go to seed, otherwise I'll have more plants that I need!!

S. interior on the sand-bar in Lake Champlain VT; at flood times, this area is completely underwater.

This willow doesn't mind in the slightest.

S. interior by the White River in the really cool city of Columbus, Indiana.

As another bonus S. interior has great fall colour

Here's what S. interior does best: planted(?) by the White River and stabilizing the banks from erosion.

At left: suckers coming up from the spreading roots—why you never want to plant this near any other plant or pipe!

Please note:

It was suggested by friends that we visit the city of Columbus, Indiana. Skeptical, but trusting, we spent a night there and wished we had arranged more time! There are many architectural marvels inspired by the imaginative owners of the Cummins Engines Company, a progressive City Council and world renown architects!

Well worth a detour on anyone's trip through the State!

S. interior in the nursery growing in 6mil black polyethylene to try to stop it spreading.

It occasionally pops up by one of the neighbours, we just rip it out there.


of Michael Dodge