French Pussy Willow, Pink Pussy Willow
Classic streamside trees, willows are fast growing, weak-wooded, and short-lived. Weeping willows are best used as single trees near a stream or lake, though they can, with training, become satisfactory shade trees for a patio or terrace. They leaf out very early in spring and hold their foliage late. Shrubby willows are grown mainly for catkins (this group goes by the name “pussy willow”) or colorful twigs, as screen plants, or for erosion control on stream or riverbanks. For this last purpose, locally offered native types are best. Pussy willow branches can be cut in bud and brought indoors to bloom. Willows take any soil; most even tolerate poor drainage. All have shallow, invasive roots and are difficult to garden under; don’t plant near sewer lines. Most are subject to pests (tent caterpillars, aphids, borers, and spider mites).
Twig blight may be a problem in the Northwest (spray copper fungicide on new foliage); Texas root rot may cause trouble in the desert. Species hybridize readily, resulting in much confusion of names in the nursery trade.Salix caprea
Native from Europe to northeastern Asia. Grows to 15–25 ft. tall and 12–15 ft. wide. Broad, 3–6-in.-long leaves are dark green above, gray and hairy beneath. Before leafout, male plants produce fat, woolly, pinkish gray catkins about 1 in. long. Can be kept to shrub size by cutting to the ground every few years.
From northern Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia Minor. Grows to 15 ft. tall and 12 ft. wide. Dark gr...
Summer bloomer bearing spectacular softball-size clusters of bright lilac flowers on stems to 5 f...
Native to the Eastern United States. Fast growth to 60–80 ft., eventually spreading to 40 ft. wi...