The Q&A Archives: Pussy Willow

Question: Good morning. I recently purchased a Pussy Willow tree from Burpee and it seems to be taking fine.There are green sprouts growing from the base. What are they and should I cut them, why or why not?

Answer: The answer to your question depends on whether or not the tree was grafted or grown on its own roots. If it is grafted, as a weepiong pussy willow would have been, then you should remove the suckers from the base and anything growing below the graft. The reasoning here is that the root shoudl only be sending its energy to the more desirable grafted top.

If the plant is on its own roots, then you have more of a choice. To maintain a single trunked tree form you would remove suckers or sprouts from the base. If you allow these shoots to grow you will end up with a multi-stemmed plant which may look more like a shrub than a tree.

Having said that, you should also be aware that in some cases sprouts are an indication of lusty healthy growth, but in others they can be a sign of stress. Do be sure that your plant is receiving plenty of moisture during this important establishment period. The rule is an inch of water a week applied as a deep soaking rather than daily light sprinklings. Pussy willows like plenty of water so a little more than that wouldn't hurt, especially in a dry season.

Enjoy your pussy willow!

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