Answer: Since pussy willows produce catkins on new wood, yours should be pruned hard in the early spring to give it time to develop wood that will 'bloom' the following winter. It's a little late to prune this year, unless you won't mind losing next winter/spring's catkins. Most gardeners cut their shrubs back to very short stubs every 3-4 years to keep them inbounds and to encourage new wood. If you want to lightly renovate your shrub rather than prune it back hard, you can prune just as the buds begin to swell. Take some of the cuttings indoors to force into bloom. To renovate your large pussy willow, remove some of the old growth to within a few inches of the base, and cut some of the remaining branches back by one-third to one half. You'll be rewarded with vigorous new shoots which will produce an abundance of catkins the following season.
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