The Q&A Archives: pussy willow tree

Question: I bought a pussy willow tree, but I think the main stem was pruned to prevent further upward growth. It's just spreading outward. Is there a way I can resume upward growth. Can I boar a hole in the top and place a clipped stem to become the main stem at top? And, shall I apply some sort of copper wiring before stem gets too thick and hard to shape upward?

Answer: Based on your description I think you may have purchased a high grafted weeping pussy willow. This special form is intended to grow outward and then droop down rather than upward like a normal tree. This is actually considered to be quite a special, specimen type tree. Unfortunately, as far as I know there is no way to change its shape by pruning or wiring or other training. If you want a normal pussy willow then you would really need to purchase one that has not been specially grafted to form the weeping shape. I'm sorry this is not what you were expecting. At this point, you might be able to take a tip cutting from the end of one of the trailing branches and root it (upright) in damp potting mix or by sticking it directly into the ground and keeping the soil evenly moist. The reason I suggest this is that pussy willow will often root very easily, especially early in the growing season. Your cutting would then be growing in the normal way and would mature into a normal tree without the weeping form. Once it has formed a good root system you could transplant it to where you want the tree to be. I hope this helps.

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