Answer: If you're finding what you think are leaf buds that didn't open, your willow was healthy going into the winter season. Leaf buds are formed in the summer and are dormant until the following spring. It sounds as though your willow may have been hit by a cold snap early in the spring. Any buds that begin to swell and then experience cold weather can die. I'd do some pruning at this point. Remove anything that's obviously dead and cut back those branches that are showing new growth. This will force your willow into developing new stems and foliage, which will help it look full and healthy. Best wishes with your landscape!
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