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Pussy Willow Live Stakes

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Pussy Willow - Salix discolor

 
 
The American pussy willow is more specifically called Salix discolor. It is a deciduous variety of either a small tree or a large shrub grown in hardy planting zones 4 to 8. Most native, in North America would be from South Maryland, to Indiana, Missouri, and Iowa. Throughout these areas, it will thrive best in wet to moist soils in meadows, swamps and along banks of bodies of water. Normally, the pussy willow reaches 6 to 15 feet high and spreads 4 to 12 feet, creating an oval shape. Less frequently it can grow to be more of a small tree as tall as 30 feet high. There are two classes of the pussy willow: male and female. The male emerges with multitudes of showy catkins that are pearl gray and silky resembling a cats paw (hence the common name). Female plants will produce smaller, less commonly attractive green catkins. Catkins of all varieties are usually 1 to 2 inches in length. The production of catkins occurs in late winter to early spring, mostly concentrated from March to April. The fall color of the plant is a mixture of green and yellow hues. Pussy willow should be grown in moist soil along streams or ponds, if possible, but it can also tolerate somewhat drier soil. Completely dry soils will not support the plant. The soil does need to be well-drained as well. It can grow adequately in average garden soils under the right conditions. The plant also prefers either full sun or part shade. Growth rate can be quite rapid, with height increases of more than 24 inches per year. As the blooming of catkins ends by late spring, you should prune as needed at that time. In landscaping they are commonly used as a hedge. Catkins of the pussy willow can also be cut off in late spring to be used for indoor arrangements