Housekeeping

pussy willow tree: how to care for pussy willow

pussy willow tree – how to care for pussy willow : Pussy willow trees are native to Europe, West Asia, and Central Asia.

On open ground, along beaches, rivers, lakes, and roads, as well as along the edges of forests and secluded areas, it grows.

Pussy willow is a deciduous shrub or small tree in the Salicaceae family.

Willows of this species can reach a height of up to 10 meters (33 feet), with wide crowns and trunks up to one meter in diameter. Gray bark covers the trunk and branches, as well as yellow and red hardwood. Green leaves range in length from 3 to 12 cm. Flowers appear in April or May before the foliage appears.

The female flowers form a green, hairy capsule containing numerous small grains after they bloom. These grains combine with the hair to disperse.

The majority of herbs used in medicine come from the skin. You can eat sprouts, young pussy flowers, twigs, and fresh leaves.

 

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 adds unique interest to the garden from the furry catkins, which are shortly followed by whiteish yellow flowers when much of the landscape is still dormant.

Consider the location where pussy willows will be planted when learning how to grow them. What is the best place to plant a pussy willow tree? It is important to remember that pussy willow trees like constant moisture and full to part sun. Plant it in an area with room for roots to spread in your landscape. If you plant a pussy willow tree near water lines, sewer lines, or septic tank fields, you can avoid expensive problems.

If planted in the wrong place, pussy willows have deep, spreading roots that can be considered invasive. Contact your water or utility company before planting if you are not sure where the lines run in your landscape. Before you plant, they will mark the lines free of charge. A pussy willow’s deep spreading roots are ideal for holding soil on a hill and controlling erosion. These are its most important functions.

 

Care for Pussy Willow
Pussy willows are native to wetlands. As they require plenty of water, they would be a good choice for areas with poor drainage. Willows have invasive roots, so keep them away from septic tanks, sewer lines, and water lines. Through proper pruning, bushy willows can be kept more compact and shrub-like.

Generally, willows are weak and brittle plants, so pruning them properly can help prevent damage from ice and snow.

Pussy willows prefer full sun, but will tolerate some shade as well.

The soil should be loamy, moist, and rich. The soil should be kept moist. Although it tolerates poorly drained soil, it performs best if the soil is well drained but kept constantly moist.

These plants enjoy water. In the wild, they thrive along the banks of streams and prevent soil erosion. Make sure they have plenty of water and aren’t suffering from drought conditions. It is usually sufficient to water your pussy willow once a week in dense, water-retentive soil, but in porous soil, it may need more frequent watering. Keep the soil constantly moist.

Pussy willows grow best in temperate climates with cold winters, as is typical in the northern states and Canada (zones 4 and 5). They grow slower in warmer climates (zones 6 to 8). Pussy willows tolerate high humidity well.

With just compost or leaf mold, pussy willows can thrive. Once the plant is more than one year old, you can fertilize it once in the fall with a balanced fertilizer. Spread half a pound of fertilizer for every 1/2 inch of base-trunk diameter, 18 inches beyond the drip line of the branches. Do not let the fertilizer contact the trunk of the plant.

Native to North America, Salix discolor is commonly called pussy willow. Other Salix species may also carry the same name:

Salix caprea: This Eurasian pussy willow is also known as goat willow.

Salix caprea pendula: The weeping pussy willow grows as a ground cover instead of an upright bush.

Native to Europe and western Asia, Salix cinerea has a reputation for invasiveness. Although it has naturalized across the Eastern U.S., it should not be used as a landscape plant.

 

 

How to Make Pussy Willows Bloom
There is little to be done to ensure that willows form bloom clusters (catkins). It’s really about clipping the branches at the right time and preserving them in a way that makes them most useful for decorative arrangements.

Pussy willow branches need to be deprived of water at the right time to preserve them. Bringing the pussy willows into the house and keeping them in water for weeks will cause them to “go by” (flower out and lose their beauty), so don’t do that.

You can also harvest the branches before the catkins open. If you live in late winter or early spring (depending on where you live), you can pick branches that have not fully opened yet and force them to open.

The nodes along the branches of pussy willows may swell. These are the first signs of the upcoming catkins. If possible, begin the operation on a day when the temperature is above freezing.

Take a 2 foot long branch and cut it into pieces. Keep going until you’ve removed all the branches. Fill a vase with lukewarm water and place the bottoms of the branches inside.

With their ends thus submerged, cut about 1 inch off the bottoms. This second cut, performed underwater where air cannot act as a drying agent, will promote water intake into the branches. If you can add a floral preservative to the water, so much the better.

Wrap the exposed areas of the branches in damp newspaper or cloth to maintain humidity. For a few days, place the vase in a cool, dark spot until the stems begin to show color.

Then remove the paper or cloth from the vase. The vase should be placed in a cool spot (60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit) with indirect sunlight. Spray the branches occasionally until the pussy willow catkins appear.

You can then preserve dried flower arrangements using the catkins once they have been successfully forced open.

 

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