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Pussy Willow

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Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) – Our own native pussy willow, featuring soft, fuzzy catkins in late winter, one of the first plants to bloom in northern climates, heralding the arrival of spring; upright and spreading habit, forms a small multi-stemmed tree; quite versatile and hardy.

Characteristics

Average Landscape Height:
18 feet
Average Landscape Width:
20 feet
Growth Rate:
fast
Genus:
Salix
Species:
discolor
Flower Color:
tan
Flower Period:
from late winter to early spring
Summer Foliage Color:
sea green
Minimum Light:
partial shade
Maximum Light:
full sun
Minimum Moisture:
average
Maximum Moisture:
wet
Plant Form:
round
Canopy:
leggy
Pruning:
late winter pruning
Pollution Tolerance:
medium
Branching:
multi-stemmed
Flower Form:
catkin

Ornamental Features

Pussy Willow features delicate tan catkins along the branches from late winter to early spring before the leaves. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has bluish-green deciduous foliage. The pointy leaves do not develop any appreciable fall color.

Landscape Attributes

Pussy Willow is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a more or less rounded form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

Planting & Growing

Pussy Willow will grow to be about 18 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 3 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is quite adaptable, prefering to grow in average to wet conditions, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is native to parts of North America.

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