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Pussy Willow

Jane Asked

I purchased a Pussy Willow tree (Salix Caprea) from the Arbor Day Foundation last summer 2021. It was approximately 1 1/2′. It grew a little over the summer. My family had one when I was growing up. It attracted many bees, which I hope for this one. My question is how am I supposed to care for this. It doesn’t look like a tree. It looks like two branches. Should I be feeding it or trimming it? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hi Jane: The fact that your willow put on new growth is a good sign. Newly planted trees spend most of their energy on root establishment; Salix Caprea is no different. They are considered fast growers and can eventually reach 15-25’ tall with a 12-15’spread at maturity. This genus prefers to grow in full sun (at least six hours each day) and is adaptable to most soil conditions, if given adequate moisture. With time and optimal growing conditions, your tree will resemble the one from your childhood. Honeybees are a frequent visitor to this willow in bloom. There is no pruning to do at this point. As the tree comes out of dormancy and the soil temperatures rise, treat like any new addition to the garden. Monitor moisture levels and be careful not to overfeed. You do not need to fertilize but if you do, use a half dose according to product recommendations. Hopefully your tree has been mulched to help insulate during these cold months.

Angie Oakley

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