Pacific willow is a fast growing but short-lived tree. This species prefers a damp heavy soil but will succeed in most soils. This species is often found in riverbanks, floodplains, lakeshores, and wet meadows often standing in quiet river backwaters. It grows best in a sunny position scattered at low elevations along major rivers.
Willows produce salicin, which is closely related to acetylsalicylic acid, commonly known as aspirin. Various preparations from willows are used to treat stomachache, sore throats, colds, diarrhea, and even dandruff. Native Americans used the stems for bow making and the bark for fabrics and tea.