The Q&A Archives: weeping pussywillow tree (salix discolor)

Question: This tree has not produced pussywillows for the last 2 years. the tree itself is 7-8 yrs. old. any information would by appreciated.

Answer: The big question is whether or not you've been pruning your pussy willow? Pruning rejuvenates the plant and forces new growth, which will mature over the summer months and produce catkins the following spring.

Here's how to properly prune Pussy Willows:

After harvesting the tops of branches bearing catkins, remove any dead branches.
Then cut one-third of the oldest branches back to the ground. The oldest branches are the gray-colored ones.

Next determine where the newest (brown-colored) branches are -- the vigorous new growth coming from lower on the main stems. The tops of these branches will serve as gauge for your remaining cuts.

The remaining cuts will be made on the branches the tops of which you just harvested for their catkins. Make your cuts back to level determined by the previous step.

Repeat this process for three years in a row. At this point all of the oldest growth of the pussy willow shrubs will have been removed -- you have a "new" shrubs.

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