Growing A Pussy Willow Tree: Learn About The Care Of Pussy Willows

pussy-willow-catkins
Image by Andrew Hill

By Becca Badgett
(Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden)

Few small trees or large shrubs are as easy to grow as the pussy willow (Salix discolor). When growing a pussy willow tree, you’ll find care of the small tree is minimal when it is planted in the right place. Learn where and how to plant a pussy willow tree and the ease in care of pussy willows.

Growing a Pussy Willow Tree

One of the first trees to break bud in late winter or early spring, learning how to grow pussy willows provides the garden with unique interest from the furry catkins, which are soon followed by whitish, yellow flowers, when much of the landscape still sleeps in dormancy.

For optimum results when learning how to grow pussy willows, pay attention to the location where it is planted. So where exactly is the right place for growing a pussy willow tree? When considering where and how to plant a pussy willow tree, remember that they like constant moisture and full to part sun. If there’s a boggy area in your landscape with room for roots to spread, plant it there.

When growing a pussy willow tree, you may have expensive problems that can be avoided if the tree is planted near water lines, sewer lines or septic tank fields. Pussy willows have deep spreading roots that can be considered invasive when planted in the wrong place. If you are unsure where the lines run in your landscape, contact the water or utility company before planting. They will come out and mark the lines before you plant – normally free of charge.

The deep spreading roots of the pussy willow make them a good choice for holding the soil on a hill and erosion control. This is possibly the most important function of the pussy willow.

Choose the type of pussy willow that will fit the area when mature. When growing a pussy willow tree, there are a variety of mature sizes available for planting. Don’t create unnecessary work for yourself in the care of pussy willows by planting in the wrong place.

Pruning Care of Pussy Willows

Pruning pussy willow is another aspect of its care. If your current specimen is too big for the space in which it grows, pussy willow care can include pollarding, a regular all-over pruning for the sake of size. Regular renewal pruning should become part of pussy willow care as well, regardless of where it grows.

The technique of coppice, severe renewal pruning, is often successfully used as part of pussy willow care too. Branches of the pussy willow are somewhat weak, so yearly pruning when flowers are spent encourages new growth for the next year.

Cutting branches for indoor display is an excellent use of catkins and flowers when growing a pussy willow tree. Cut branches with buds and place them in a tall vase in bright sunlight. You’ll be rewarded with indoor blooms before the outdoor tree breaks bud, in many cases.

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